Originally Posted by redsirenn
It may also be hard to say we have "higher brain function" than other mammals or other animals... Other animals exhibit social rituals, utilize tools, have song, communicate, and learn! It is almost impossible for us to gauge their smarts!
Before I drift off topic, I'd like to say that I think we are, to a high degree, biologically predispositioned toward specific behaviors. For sure experience and culture shape us, but innate traits that we are born with are like the needle on a compass pointing to magnetic north. Some of us follow the arrow and some of us choose a different path.
When you spoke of other animals I immediately thought of a problem that I have been having at my "retreat" home in Georgia. It's just a little get away place where I spend some time trying to make sense out of me. Anyway, there is an Eastern Woodrat (Pack Rat) Neotoma Floridana that has wreaked havoc on my house. They tend to be solitary animals, so I'm thinking its only one or two. It has bored holes in the walls and floors, taken pictures off the walls and tried to drag them under the house, eaten through water pipes, taken the TV and Stereo remotes under the house, that in itself is impressive. But what amazed me is that it emptied a five gallon bucket of bird seed. Mouth full by mouth full and took it under the house. I bought a large bag of Rat poison. As far as I was concerned this was war. It emptied the entire bag and took it mouthful by mouthful under the house. It emptied a 25lb bag of fire ant poison and took it under the house. They typically use all of these items to build a midan. They surround their nest with all of this stuff. It has taken screws, eating utensils, plates, small figurines and who knows what else. It's like a miniature wolverine.
It is extremely determined, industrious and intelligent. I agree completely when you say we are not capable of fully understanding the intelligence of other animals. And I am determined to match wits with this one.