It is a common question on the Internet: Why did dinosaurs fail to produce intelligence after hundreds of millions of years of evolution? Human beings, on the other hand, only took millions of years to develop an advanced intelligent civilization. Why is that?
To put it simply, dinosaurs did not need to evolve intelligence, nor did they have the ability and conditions to evolve intelligence, while human beings evolved intelligence can be said to be forced to.
Let’s start with why we evolved intelligence.
An important prerequisite for the evolution of human intelligence is the brain, and the evolution of the brain is fundamental. According to the current mainstream theory, the ancestors of modern humans came from East Africa, where Homo sapiens evolved and then spread around the world.
The nature of species evolution is actually genetic variation, but in the process of inheritance, variation is completely random behavior, we cannot predict the direction of variation.
Since evolution is variation, and variation is random, evolution is also random and directionless. In the course of evolution, nature makes choices all the time, and the ones that don’t fit will eventually be weeded out, and the ones that do will stay.
According to the mainstream theory of human origin, the ancestors of human beings are the apes living in East Africa. Due to environmental changes, such as the emergence of the Rift Valley in East Africa, the climate of East Africa went through great turbulence, and the dense forest eventually became grassland, and the apes living in the forest had to move from the forest to the grassland.
When they first came to the grassland, the apes were certainly not adapted to it, and it took millions of years of trial and error. Originally in the forest, with flexible skills, the ancient ape can be called the king of the forest, life is very comfortable. But when they came to the prairie, they fell from heaven to hell. Without the ability to run fast, it is difficult for an ancient ape to take advantage of a wild animal.
Over a long period of time, the apes have been severely tested. But one group of ancient apes stood out, starting by walking upright. The variation of upright walking is not achieved overnight, nor can it be changed at the will of the apes. Instead, it has been trial and error in the process of continuous variation, undergoing survival of the fittest, and finally the upright walking variant gene has the last laugh, which has been screened by nature.
Walking upright has huge advantages over crawling on all fours. Walking upright, for example, saves energy, frees up hands and allows the apes to move quickly when attacked by an animal. At the same time can also make use of attacks, greatly improve the efficiency of obtaining food. By walking upright, the apes also had a higher view of the beasts and were prepared in advance.
Survival is a basic skill that any species must possess, and walking upright would have made it much easier for an ancient ape to survive.
Now, walking upright also laid the foundation for later human civilization. Without upright walking, the large brains of the ancient apes would have had no support at all. Even with the relevant genetic mutations, intelligent civilization would not have evolved in the end, but only a flash in the pan.
However, the expansion of brain capacity is not all good, because the brain’s neural network is too complex, to maintain the brain needs a lot of energy consumption, scientists analyzed that human brain energy consumption accounts for more than 20% of the total energy needed by the human body, which was not friendly to primitive humans, because primitive humans have very limited means to obtain energy, energy is quite scarce. But in order to maintain the brain’s energy expenditure, they had to reduce the body’s other energy expenditure to keep the brain’s energy needs as high as possible.
The benefits of having a larger brain are numerous. That means stronger and more efficient abstract thinking skills, organizational communication skills, hands-on skills, etc. These increased abilities greatly enhanced the quality of life of both the hominids and the hominids, who soon rose to the top of the food chain.
When human beings were no longer tired for food, the society began to evolve a lot of different division of labor, and human beings also had enough time and energy to study science, art and other fields, which led to our modern civilization.
So why didn’t dinosaurs evolve an intelligent civilization?
To put it in plain English, because dinosaurs were completely the “rich second generation”, they lived in an evolutionarily perfect age, there was no conditions and motivation for the evolution of wisdom.
Dinosaurs lived at a time when plants and animals were everywhere, which was heaven for herbivores and meat-eating dinosaurs. The so-called born in distress and die in happiness, in such a beautiful living environment, they have no evolutionary wisdom power.
One more point, mentioned at the beginning of the article, is that evolution is a very random behavior, and even dinosaurs would have needed genetic variation in this aspect to develop intelligent brains. At the very least, even if a particular group of dinosaurs were genetically modified to be more intelligent, that wouldn’t give them an advantage, it would be a disadvantage, because intelligence means greater energy expenditure. Right
Finally, there is no high or low level of evolution. Evolution does not necessarily evolve in the direction of intelligence. The only purpose of evolution is to adapt to the environment, and there are many ways to adapt to the environment, intelligence is just one of them.