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As one might expect, it is difficult to determine the intelligence of any animal without observing its behaviour. Obviously, this is impossible to accomplish in the case of pterosaurs, since this group of avemetatarsalians has been extinct for around 66 million years. That said, there have been a few studies that have aimed to arrive at estimates for pterosaurian intelligence based on the concept of encephalization. Put simply, encephalization refers to the ratio of actual brain mass to the hypothesised (predicted) brain mass of an organism of a given weight (a quantity known as Encephalization Quotient, or EQ). Part I. What is EQ? âââââââââââââââââââââââââââââââââââââComputation. The key variable, for the purpose of determining EQ, is the Cephalization Factor, which is determined by the formula. C = E / (S^r), where C = Cephalization Factor, E = brain mass, S = body mass, and r = the exponential constant (typically considered to be 66 %, or 2/3, in the case of mammals). EQ is then obtained using the formula. EQ = C / E(C), where E(C) is the expected value (or the probability-weighted mean of the distribution of values) of the Cephalization Factor for an organism of weight S. _____________________________________________________________________________________ The higher the EQ of an organism (or group of organisms), the higher its intelligence supposedly will be (the mean EQ for modern humans is 7.44, while that of the wider mammalian clade is ~ 1. Archaic human species have been estimated to have a mean EQ of 4.15, based on studies of fossils). EQ is considered to be a more holistic measure of cognitive capabilities than the more traditional brain-mass-to-body-mass ratio (since this older method doesnât account for allometric data, unlike EQ). In practice, however, EQ is relatively weakly correlated in animals that lie outside the clade Mammalia. That said, EQ remains an important tool for the purpose of ranking animals according to their (supposed) intelligence level. EQ is especially important in the field of palaeoneurobiology, since itâs not possible to directly observe the behaviour of long-extinct species/ genera. This diagram describes how the Encephalization Quotient works, relative to brain-to-body mass ratios in various vertebrate genera. Part II. Pterosaurian Intelligence Pterosaurs had higher EQs, relative to other archosaur groups - both extant and extinct, with the exception of birds (corvids, which include crows and magpies, and parrots have EQs comparable to those of primates, while Archaeopteryx, a nonavian dinosaur that was closely related to the last common ancestor of birds, had an EQ that was just below that of birds, but well above that of non-dinosaurian sauropsids), and may, therefore, have been more intelligent than most animals t coexisted with, apart from birds. The encephalization in pterosaurs evolved convergently, relative to birds, as did flight. Indeed, flight may well have been a significant factor behind the encephalization in both avian dinosaurs, and pterosaurs. The dynamics of flight seem to necessitate neuromuscular development, along with the evolution of key motor regions of the brain, which would likely have promoted encephalization. Basal pterosaurs were, furthermore, insectivorous predatory organisms (like birds, which descended from nonavian meat-eating theropod dinosaurs). As a rule of thumb, predatory animals have, on average, higher EQs than prey animals, since predators have to have better developed sensory, visuospatial, and strategic-planning-related areas of the brain to aid in the capture of prey. The other major factor that drove encephalization may have been that both groups evolved in forested environments, and lived arboreal lifestyles. Dense forests pose visuo-perceptual (especially involving colour, and depth) and navigational challenges to the organisms that inhabit such environments, since having to move between branches, as well as trees, on a regular basis, places significant cognitive demands on an organism. This is also the most common explanation for the occurrence of encephalization in primates. Encephalization may, therefore, have been an evolutionary response to the selective pressure placed by the environment on pterosaurs. Pterosaur fossils (including fossilised eggs) found in northwestern China. The fossil record suggests that pterosaur hatchlings may have been dependent on their parents - for at least a while - during the early stages of their development, again, not unlike birds, and the behaviours associated with parenting are, in the absence of at least a certain degree of intelligence, difficult for an organism to demonstrate. Conclusion. Fossil evidence points to early pterosaurs having lived an active, flight-dependent, predatory lifestyle in a complex, and visually-rich environment, while also taking part in offspring-rearing, all of which suggests that pterosaurs (including the more derived groups that evolved later) were fairly intelligent animals and were not too far away from birds in terms of cognitive ability. As with birds, pterosaurs would have had significant variation, in terms of intelligence, across genera/ species. This is unsurprising, considering that this group had diversified into scores of genera, comprising of hundreds of species, over the course of more than 150 million years of evolution. References. Tadashi Nomura, Yasunori Murakami, Hitoshi Gotoh & Katsuhiko Ono - Reconstruction of ancestral brains. Exploring the evolutionary process of encephalization in amniotes; Neuroscience Research (Vol. 86, September 2014); Pages 25â36. Mauricio R. Papini - Comparative Psychology. Evolution and Development of Behavior, 2nd Edition (14th September 2001); Prentice Hall. Lawrence M. Witmer, Sankar Chatterjee, Jonathan Franzosa & Timothy Rowe - Neuroanatomy of flying reptiles and implications for flight, posture and behaviour - Nature, 425 (30th October 2003); Pages 950â953. Olkowicz, S, Kocourek, M, LuÄan, R. K, PorteÅ¡, M, Fitch, W. T, Herculano-Houzel, S, & NÄmec, P. (2016). Birds have primate-like numbers of neurons in the forebrain. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 113(26), 7255â7260. Birds have primate-like numbers of neurons in the forebrain
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Library Guide by John R. Allen-Smith, Jr., J.D. (University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, New Mexico). Open Educational Resources from the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Virginia by John B. McGhee, Ph.D., (University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Virginia). In my case I was looking for textbooks that teach the anatomy and physiology of the heart, lungs, nervous system, circulatory system, reproductive system, skin, eyes, ears, skin membrane, and more. I was also looking for anatomy and physiology textbooks, free, in the medical field and not general interest. I also looked on the internet for more anatomy and physiology textbooks. This is the result I got from Google Scholar Searching for: “free” medical textbooks about the heart, lung-blood vessels, circulatory system, skin, digestive system, eyes, ears, skin membrane, liver and pancreas, ureters, stomach, intestines, etc. What I saw was some textbook with a subject that I didn't.
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