Recognizing Intelligence – Wherever It May Be

Kimmela Center Director Lori Marino participated in a recent colloquium of scientists to discuss nonhuman communication research and the evolution of intelligence.

The meeting, which was held at The SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, on October 20-21, included discussion of new methods of exploring nonhuman animal complex communication systems on Earth that may provide insight into and tools for exploring potential future assessments of life on other planets.

Participants also presented a summary of the workshop at a public forum at the Institute. You can find the videotape of that event here:

Dr. Marino presented research showing that there is evolutionary continuity in intelligence across all animals on earth and that human intelligence is just one variation on a theme that was laid down over 600 million years ago. She also explained how there is no evidence for human superiority in the animal kingdom and that our species needs to gain better perspective on our identity as animals.

The workshop was organized by Dr. Denise Herzing of the Wild Dolphin Project and geologist Lori Walton. Dr. Marino was joined by a stellar group of participants from the fields of animal communication, biological computation, and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, including Dr. Brenda McCowan, Dr. Laurance Doyle, Dr. Michael Coen, Dr. Con Slobodchikoff, Dr. John Elliott, Dr. Doug Vakoch and Dr. Gerry Harp.

This initial workshop and colloquium on nonhuman communication will lead to a working group and future workshops to continue to address this important area of exploration.