# Is it possible that a species be intelligent and keep their animalistic trait?

As we all know, the brain consumes a lot of energy, so much that we, who has a bigger body and brain only have the same amount of strength as a chimpanzee. So, could a species evolve to develop intelligence comparable to our own, progress through their own technological development (kinda similar towards our own) and still don't lose their muscle, senses, etc?

edit: What i define as animalistic traits are the other physical organs that helps the creature to get food but isn't related to intelligence. And notice I didn't put the social tag, I'm not asking about the behavior, but whether or not does the creature doesn't degenerate some organs/body parts. (the paragraph below is the main illustration of what I'm asking.)

Apes develop very dexterous limbs and it's kinda our thing. Although we develop so much, we don't lose it even though it gets weaker. BUT, can a bird develop our level of intelligence and still can fly and not degenerate it 's wings? or some kind of insect be civilized but still be able to produce silk/string, it's that kind of thing.

ps: Sorry, English isn't my main language

• We did not lose our muscles because we became civilized. We reduced our muscle mass and density of muscular fibres because we are adapted for endurance. We are the best long-distance runners among all the mammals -- that's our "animalistic" adaptation, and we kept it while developing culture and civilization. (Other mammals cannot supply their big muscles with oxygen while running, or cannot shed waste heat fast enough, or, more usually, both.) And in additon our fine motor skills are much better than any other ape's. – AlexP Dec 1 '18 at 4:42
• As a matter of fact, chimps are quite a bit stronger than humans, about 2-4 times depending on who you ask: abcnews.go.com/Health/Wellness/… But it's not a matter of the elimination of "animalistic" traits, but rather that we evolved to favor endurance over strength - and in fact trained humans have greater endurance than almost any other mammal. (Except sled dogs, of course, and even that's questionable in a hot climate.) – jamesqf Dec 1 '18 at 4:43
• To elaborate what @jamesqf said: Chimps are much tronger, true. But their endurance is poor. Most animals have big strong muscles which are great for short duration effort, but require more oxygen than the lungs can supply and thus cannot sustain strenuous effort for a long time; one of our tricks is to have just the amount of muscular fibres that can be supplied with oxygen while running. (Dogs can do this too; but our other trick is to get rid of the fur and to sweat profusely, so that we don't overheat easily.) – AlexP Dec 1 '18 at 4:46
• there is also some evidence that our muscles got weaker to become more precise at the same time, not just for endurance. having the muscle recruitment we do means we can dial in the force we exert much better. – John Dec 1 '18 at 6:38
• Welcome to the site . This question needs a little work. As it stands you are asking many questions, not just one. Your scientific claims at the beginning are also largely incorrect. Please take some time and check out the help center and tour to get a better idea how the site works. Happy world building. – James Dec 1 '18 at 6:46

To give a contrived example, suppose you were writing about an intelligent species evolved from moles. A "dumb" mole needs to dig a burrow wherever it finds itself, and if the soil happens to be very rocky, it needs big strong claws to dig through it. A "smart" mole can work out that it's easier to crawl 500m to where it can dig into soft, loamy soil instead. So the "smart" moles, in general, won't have such a need for big claws, and they can reduce their energy requirements by evolving smaller, weaker claws. But if the soil is equally hard to dig through everywhere, this won't apply.

If you want to have highly-intelligent moles who still have all their mole-like characteristics, you just need to think about (a) why they would benefit from being more intelligent and (b) why this would not reduce the need for the mole characteristics.

To put it another way, think of an animal and how it spends its day. If you dropped a human brain into that animal, would it be able to do all the same things with less effort? If the answer is "yes", that implies the animal's physical form would change if it were smarter. So you just need to work out how the answer would be "no".

https://www.livescience.com/5540-human-brains-big.html

But your right, some animals lack the need to develop intelligence because they posses some other trait that makes them successful. Humans probably aren’t as strong as chimpanzees because we don’t need to hang in trees, unless that is all you can do. If humans could spin webs they wouldn’t need to innovate other ways to catch food or shelter or migrate or defend themselves.

Another way to answer the question is with ants. Supposedly ants evolved from wasps which didn’t need to fly anymore. Are ants intelligent? I don’t know. Probably not the way you want to think they are. But as a unit they are a successful species which, along with roaches and some other animals will survive certain apocalypses we humans won’t.

It also depends a lot on diet. Not just enough food but what is available. Panda bears eat bamboo which is nutritiously poor. So they lack energy to do much, especially think. The brain needs certain nutrition to work correctly. So if intelligence is based on diet and diet is based on availability then intelligence might be based on necessity or chance or accidental changes.

Supposedly we still have certain physiological parts of our bodies we do not need.

http://theconversation.com/seven-body-organs-you-can-live-without-84984

So why do we still have them? Just something to think about.

Is it possible that a species be intelligent and keep their animalistic trait?

Lots of humans exhibit animalistic traits, if by animalistic you mean "brutish, cruel and tending to the baser instincts".

So, could a species evolve to develop intelligence comparable to our own, progress through their own technological development (kinda similar towards our own) and still don't lose their muscle, senses, etc?

Sure!

As you said, "the brain consumes a lot of energy". Thus to retain the strength of our more muscular forefathers while also growing a large brain, all you need is a large and secure source of dense calories with which to feed both big muscles and big brain.

The evolutionary problem, though, is that there's no evolutionary benefit to having a big brain if there's a large and secure source of dense calories easily captured by creatures with only big muscles.

• @James your single-vote "unclear what you're asking" is completely wrong. It's perfectly obvious what OP is asking, even though he's slightly wrong about our strength relative to other Great Apes. – RonJohn Dec 1 '18 at 7:18

The development of our brain reduces the amount of muscle, hairs (arguable) and senses.

That is a remarkable mixed bag in one sentence.

1) Muscle: No, the metabolic demands of the brain have nothing to do with the amount of muscle we possess. If it comes to that, nobody is quite sure why we are (relative to chimps, for instance) weak. It seems likely that Neandertals were very strong, and apparently we wiped them out. So it's clear that, for one reason or another, beyond our current limits more muscle simply doesn't help survival all that much. The existence of freakishly strong people shows what the human genotype is capable of, and such people do not seem to be short-lived the way, for instance, super-tall people with an excess of HGH are. It's just that it doesn't do much good to be super-strong in a world of tool-users.

2) Hair. Oh, hell no. The metabolic load for growing hair is simply not an issue. After all, if hair follicles produce long-lived hair, the total effect will be more hair and a shorter replacement rate will work. Rather, it's an issue of heat management, and we seem to be adapted to be long-distance runners in a hot climate. More body hair and our deep ancestors would have been in deep trouble.

3) Senses. Now there you're on to something. Sort of. But probably not really. A large chunk of our brain is devoted to visual processing. In the process, we've lost (if we had it) a lot of smell-oriented abilities, although we also don't have an enormous number of scent receptors, either. Dogs, for instance, have an enormous suite of receptors. And their vision is not great. However, much of what people think of as "limited" abilities in our senses are partly due to the fact that most of us simply don't need to pay that much attention to our senses, other than sight. Our hearing is actually quite good, although the limited size of our ears is a limit. And note that some issues require other specializations. Some owls, for instance, have superb auditory location ability (good for hunting in the dark) - but their ear anatomy is asymmetrical to help the process. We don't have the long-distance vision of raptors, but the eye anatomy which produces that vision would be pretty useless - we don't need to spot mice at 100 meters, and we do need to be able both to see fine detail up close and have decent peripheral vision. And some people have much more discerning taste abilities than most.

It's true that if less of our brains were devoted to "cognition" (whatever that is), we'd have more to spare for sensory processing, but it's not clear that that would actually help much, so it doesn't happen. Note that other species would seem to be able to perform better with better senses, but they don't grow bigger brains to allow it. Apparently, there is a point of diminishing returns on sensory processing. What we did was to invest our resources in a different sort of processing, and that made such a big difference that it allowed for larger brains to survive.

Of course, there is a certain chicken-and-egg issue here, and the subject of exactly why our brains got big in the first place is the subject of long-standing, sometime acrimonious, and certainly inconclusive debate.

• to be clear humans have better vision and hearing than our ancestors, and our sense of smell is comparable to that of other apes, apes just don't have as much need for smell. Humans did not loose anything sense wise to get our large brain if anything our sense are better because of it. much of cognition IS sensory processing, things like speech, facial features, social cues. – John Dec 1 '18 at 6:33
• and the subject of exactly why our brains got big in the first place is the subject of long-standing debate Man, I wish I could skip forward through time about 20 years at a go and see what the crows and dolphins do. – Draco18s Dec 3 '18 at 0:24