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Based off this question.

As stated in the previous question, a population of Homo Sapiens crossed over to a alternative Earth where they then diverged into two populations — one that is identical to the original population and another that came to prey on the other population as they have a form of genetic hypopituitarism that prevented the synthesis of vital hormones necessary for human development and function, forcing them to prey on the the healthy population.

Later on though, the populations crossed back together resulting in a hybrid population that would meet the humans of our earth later on.

The issue is that typically the predator species is smarter than a prey species, such as between a gazelle and a lion. Thus it would be reasonable to postulate that the population that preyed on the healthy population would in turn be smarter, displaying savant-like mental abilities reminiscent of the vampires from Blindsight.

However, unlike the vampires in Blindsight that either dies from seeing right angles or were breed into the larger human population where there features "diluted" in the larger gene pool, the two populations in this scenario were of roughly equal footing number's wise due to a volcanic winter that killed a large portion of the healthy population and forced the two groups into the hybridization event. Meaning that their mental abilities should have passed on to their children.

Since I would like their ancestors who would meet up with the humans of our Earth later on to have a comparable intelligence for both world-building and narrative reasons, I'm wondering:

Why, despite the advantages, did the second population not became more intelligent than the first?

Clarifications:

  • The predatory population was both small in number and lived in family groups that consisted of a mother, father and there children who would wonder off to find a partner. This was done to prevent over exhausting a single population as the predatory population reproduced at the same rate as their prey population.

  • I won't be opposed to a slight difference of behaviour or even having a higher percentage of "geniuses", only that on the whole humans from our and ancestral hybrid populations are of equal footing. More or less.

  • The time frame that these two populations existed in was there equivalent of the paleolithic era, with the prey population having similar demographics as our Earth species had; roughly 10,000-100,000 individuals that the predatory population fed on. The volcanic winter that caused the hybridization event took place while the most advanced tool was still a well knapped flint blade. Agriculture was yet to be invented.

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    $\begingroup$ This is a textbook example of a question with many valid answers. Please remember that we’re not a brainstorming site and that questions like this aren’t suitable for the stack exchange format. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Dec 27, 2023 at 1:17
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    $\begingroup$ Smarter - in which context? It doesn't take much to be smarter than the drunk college students at 2 AM. Also, what causes "temporary stupidity" in these vampires which could cause them to stop existing? $\endgroup$
    – David R
    Dec 27, 2023 at 15:42
  • $\begingroup$ You have two BIG problems that reinforce each other. (a) Prey population dispersion and (b) Prey/predator ratios. In the case of (a) unless you restrict both types of humans to an island or some other isolated area your 'normal humans' will disburse over large areas just like our early hunter/gatherer ancestors did when a population not much larger than you have specified was disbursed across most of eastern Africa, the Levant & Europe! Problem (b) means that if humans are the vampires ONLY prey then their sustainable population will likely be 1/10 or less that of the normals. See the problem? $\endgroup$
    – Mon
    Dec 28, 2023 at 2:25
  • $\begingroup$ typical is not the same as always, no one thinks sharks are smarter than seals, crocodiles are smarter than gazelle, or that lions are smarter than elephants. predators tend to have more need for intelligence but humans are already breeding for intelligence as hard as may be possible. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Dec 28, 2023 at 2:42
  • $\begingroup$ Why, despite the advantages, the second population not became more intelligent than the first would seem to be broadly, because that's the way you wrote it. How does that not work for you? $\endgroup$ Dec 28, 2023 at 18:59

8 Answers 8

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Based off your previous question:

They integrated into groups of baseline humans.

Predators regularly killed humans in ancient times and still occasionally get a shot at one these days. The usual response to this, however, is the other humans sharpening sticks and lighting torches (or, for that matter, loading magazines and topping off poison canisters) and systemically exterminating the predator and everything nearby which looks like it. In other words, you don't need to be smarter than a human to (b)eat a human. You need to be smarter than a human to survive the other humans that come after you when you do.

A lone predator, of course, dies under such circumstances, which'd ordinarily provide an evolutionary pressure towards intelligence. But unlike other predators these ones are human-shaped, think to a fair extent like a human, and are apparently capable of forming social relationships with humans and presumably integrating into their communities.

This alone means that even if these species couldn't hybridize with humans there's a strong chance that they'd simply be weaponized against other human populations, especially when agriculture enables Neolithic versions of the Sustainable War where intergroup conflict is both conducted on a much larger scale than "family" or band or "tribe" and does not automatically result in the complete destruction or integration of one side. This would mean that they don't need to outsmart humans to get food; the humans are providing (other, enemy) humans as food.

Now, consider that they can hybridize with humans and it makes even more sense that there'd never be a reason for these predators to become smarter. Think of it as a cross between domestication and what happened between sapiens and neanderthalensis in real life: no sane human will try reproducing with a violent predator, but a predator who's willing to stick to prey outside said human's Dunbar number has much better odds of conceiving a hybrid child who doesn't need to eat humans at all.

As a matter of fact, the predatory humans and their initial, alternative-Earth-Paleolithic-era hybrids could be a good deal more intelligent than humans. But once there's no selection pressure for that — because they no longer need to eat baseline humans around them, are therefore less threatening to said baseline humans — it'll slowly die out. Not only will humans not be trying to kill the hybrids, but because there are lots more baseline humans than predator humans (trophic levels, you know) and whatever genes influence intelligence (by whatever definition of intelligence) will spread around into obscurity. This is a self-reinforcing pattern; hybrid offspring as intelligent as humans will be seen as less threatening while smarter ones have lesser odds of making more smarter ones because prey don't like scary manipulative predators.

And it's not like predator-humans will be able to outcompete hybrids or baseline humans even if they are more intelligent. The complex social structures (states, religion — hell, even sedentary communities) a superintelligent predator could work their way into to gain control over baseline humans do not yet exist, and the baseliners, much like their real-life Paleolithic counterparts, certainly won't let someone into the ones which do exist if that someone tries to eat them.

So, to sum it up: they could be more intelligent than a human, in the same way a lion outsmarts a gazelle, but hybridization means they no longer need to be, because they have no/far less need to outsmart humans, because they have no/far less need to eat humans — and all the hybrids more optimized for preying on humans don't make it past the first generation.

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    $\begingroup$ I like this answer. Though a few misconceptions that in hindsight I should have made cleared up. When I meant intelligence, I was referring to social intelligence, as a way to predict and out play the result of an hunt . This, along with any savant like cognitive abilities would have allowed them out maneuver there prey as you mentioned. $\endgroup$
    – Seraphim
    Jan 2 at 5:31
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    $\begingroup$ The hybridization occurred when a volcanic winter set and forced the two species to interact more, probably leading to the village scenario you mentioned. Though the prey population was heavily depleted due the winter while the "vampire" population was at similar levels before the winter, though began to dimmish as human prey became scarce causing infighting and hybridization. Otherwise, thank you! $\endgroup$
    – Seraphim
    Jan 2 at 5:36
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The issue is that typically the predator species is smarter than a prey species, such as between a gazelle and a lion.

Where did you get that notion?

A predator does not need to outsmart its prey. The predator needs to outmuscle whatever it is that they eat.

If you watch documentaries on wildlife long enough, you will see that in any balanced ecossystem, it is usual that predators need multiple attempts at hunting for each successful kill.

Using your own example, gazelles are pretty smart. They stay in groups and when one of them detects danger, they alert the whole herd before running away. They are also capable of outmaneuvering predators that are much faster than them, including cheetas running at full speed. And when one does get caught and killed, it is almost always one that is too young, too old, or ill.

Back to vampires, they are only as intelligent as they need to be. Now, intelligence in the human species is hard to define and harder to measure, but let's take IQ as our metric for the sake of discussion. In any population, no matter how dumb or smart, an IQ of 100 is the mean score for that population. This means that if you take the members of Mensa as a population and a group of flat-earthers as a population, the mean IQ in each group is 100 (counterintuitive as it may seem). A standard deviation is 15 points, so if your IQ is 115 you are a slightly smart person in comparison with the population you belong to. Similarly, with an IQ of 85 you are relatively dim, even if you absolutely smart.

The problem seems to be that it may take a handful of slightly numb-nuts (one standard deviation down) to balance a supergenius (multiple standard deviations up). And it seems to be the case of humanity as a whole: there are a few genuinely intelligent people around, whose voices are muffled by the noise of a crowd of asses. In plain English: if your IQ score is 100, you have OK intelligence... But you're still smarter than mostly everyone else, and thicker than just a relative minority.

Therefore, any vampire with an IQ of 100 will be neither smart nor an idiot by the usual standards. But they will still have a relatively large pool of people that they can outsmart. If, unlike most creatures in nature, they really need to be more intelligent than their prey, then the actual advantage they have as a population is just the cruel nature of human existence.

If that is really the case, they don't even need to use vampire superpowers like hypnosis or supernatural seduction or whatever to prey on humans. If people can be scammed into giving you money, they can be scammed into giving you blood. Top of my mind, I can think of five different ways in which I could convince some folks I know to get some of their blood into a bottle and send it my way.

In fact, I remembered some ads I have been seeing recently in Instagram... Then I googled for images with the following query:

donate plasma earn money

And I really wonder now if vampires aren't actually real.

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    $\begingroup$ As a general rule, people with IQs within 1 standard deviation of the mean are still considered average (over 2/3 of the population). The difference isn't really noticeable until you're talking multiple standard deviations, generally "gifted" is considered to start at the second deviation for example. $\endgroup$
    – Separatrix
    Dec 27, 2023 at 11:33
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    $\begingroup$ @Escapeddentalpatient. I look at the Darwin Awards and its premise, and yet people don't change, so unless there are too many vampires I don't think people will evolve. $\endgroup$ Dec 27, 2023 at 13:08
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    $\begingroup$ Using IQ as an example is great, because it also brings the notion that an arbitrary measure of intelligence isn't necessarily an advantage. Can't tell you how many poor mensans I've met, versus some rich dumbarses. And don't even get me started on depression. Of course, all of that is because IQ is an imperfect measure. But we could be talking about any other arbitrary measure, and it could potentially be just as imperfect and just as useless. $\endgroup$ Dec 27, 2023 at 14:18
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    $\begingroup$ I think he is getting the idea because carnivores are typically smarter than herbivores, but that is just a general guideline and is not about a predator being smarter than its prey, you just don't need much brain power to outsmart grass. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Dec 28, 2023 at 2:45
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    $\begingroup$ But IQ is normally distributed, isn't it? So you don't have a handful of numb-nuts balancing out one super-genius, you have one super-numb-nuts instead. And the number of intelligent people will be the same as the number of asses (though the asses may be more vocal) $\endgroup$
    – Egor
    Dec 28, 2023 at 18:57
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A Predator does not necessarily need to be smarter than it's prey. Whilst there are a number of examples you can point to, there are examples like:

Great White Shark (not very Smart) vs a Seal (Very smart) or an Anaconda (not very Smart) vs a Monkey (very smart).

A Smarter predator does have some advantages such as anticipation etc. although I'd say that Intelligence per se is not as much of an advantage, when compared to Team Work - This is IMO the most OP skill (to use the Tier Zoo parlance) in the whole Meta.

And herein lies the answer:

Both groups have highly social behavior, with complex communication - both Verbal and Written, a formal system of education and stable familial structures.

These are IMO the prerequisites for an intelligent society.

If both societies have these and maintain this over time, then there is no reason why one would be much more intelligent than the other.

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  • $\begingroup$ also since humans primary defense is intelligence they are breeding for intelligence just as strongly as the vampires. to butcher an old phrase, the vampires is thinking for its dinner, the human is thinking for its life." $\endgroup$
    – John
    Dec 28, 2023 at 2:48
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The food is bad.

With the advent of industry, the humans have exposed themselves to, have accumulated toxins like lead which accumulates even more in the vampires feeding on them thus stunting their mental development and mental faculties.

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    $\begingroup$ I love this idea of trophic accumulation because it will lead to some vampires being really cringy about what blood they drink, i.e.: "I only drink blood from vegans". Also this is a very Ventrue thing. $\endgroup$ Dec 27, 2023 at 23:24
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    $\begingroup$ @TheSquare-CubeLaw I only drink Amish blood. $\endgroup$
    – DKNguyen
    Dec 28, 2023 at 1:26
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There are two fundamental vampiric approaches to hunting.

  1. The romantic vampire, highly social, fundamentally depending on seduction and social queues to hunt. These vampires are likely to be of high intelligence but also dependant on having a relatively low population density to operate to reduce suspicion. They'll operate solo and only one vampire will feed on each victim.

  2. The night hunters, directly attacking people in dark alleys and graveyards, round the edges of music festivals etc. A much cruder approach not requiring significant intelligence. Coming under the heading of "things that go bump in the night" their population will depend solely on the luck of the hunt and they could exist in much larger numbers including hunting in packs feeding on single victims together.

Due to their greater numbers, the second group would overwhelm the effect of the first in the breeding population.

Of course this approach still uses what's increasingly being considered an out of date attitude to the development of intelligence in the young, thinking of it as primarily a genetic factor when it's now thought that the positive involvement of the parents in the early years is more significant.

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  • $\begingroup$ I mostly agree, diverging only about the need for a low population density for the romancing vampires. A vampire in a high population density setting might actually need a robotic hand to click on the green check mark of everyone in Tinder and Grindr. Then they need only to focus on the matches that have low self steem. $\endgroup$ Dec 27, 2023 at 23:27
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    $\begingroup$ @TheSquare-CubeLaw, the Tinder Vampire is a trope in its own right now, but they can operate at lower intelligence than the true romantic $\endgroup$
    – Separatrix
    Dec 28, 2023 at 8:15
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Vampire stagnation

Becoming a vampire also means becoming dead in most stories. This can have great ramifications. They don't need their lungs to breathe for example. But what about the brain? We can have two theories here.

  1. The brain lives

The vampire is still connected to the brain. With lots of the rest of the body dead, it is very limited in growing new synaptic connections. It'll mostly use what is already there. It is not inconceivable that the brain gets smarter and better, but it'll take more effort for a vampire. Luckily they are famous for lasting a long time. It is a more grounded way of writing that allows for some creative solutions for smarter and more dumb vampires.

  1. The brain is dead

A dead brain means that the intelligence animating the vampire comes from somewhere else. You can explain it any way you like, but let's say the energies animating the vampire corporeal form also contain the intelligence. This energy has a copy of the intelligence of its body host, giving it the intelligence and personality of the one vampirised. This is a free ticket to do whatever you want. The energy could learn and lose other things, or actually grow.

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  • $\begingroup$ I don't think anything dead could produce offspring with a human. $\endgroup$
    – KEY_ABRADE
    Dec 27, 2023 at 12:38
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    $\begingroup$ @KEY_ABRADE good catch! I also think that anything dead cannot walk, but vampires do so anyway. And as recent media has shows, many of them can still get children, walk in the sun and whatever. They are more a vehicle of what the writer wants these days, which is unfortunate. Without consistency, what can someone expect of it's fixed properties? For now I'll leave it as is, unless there's more solid arguments that I can consider. $\endgroup$
    – Trioxidane
    Dec 27, 2023 at 17:38
  • $\begingroup$ Actually reproducing vampires are not new. Way before Twilight, there was Dracula's kid, Alucard. And before goths evolved into emos there was a tabletop RPG system called World of Darkness, with a subset called Vampire: the Masquerade. It had the notion of "dhampirs", the offspring of leeches and humans. Usually vampires are sterile, but each new generation of vampires has a wesker blood and curse... those of 14th and 15th generation are sometimes able to breed. $\endgroup$ Dec 27, 2023 at 23:21
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    $\begingroup$ @TheSquare-CubeLaw apologies, I should've been more clear. Vampires and many other mythological creatures do change over time or can be changed for a story. It is not uncommon to have a mythological creature changed slightly in any century, resulting in something different over time. My gripe is that the changes are now so rapid, large and random that the word 'vampire' doesn't make anything clear. Notging is established. Are they alive? How do they reproduce? Do they drink blood? What powers do they have? Does it have any consistency? A vampire now needs to be explained, instead of understood $\endgroup$
    – Trioxidane
    Dec 28, 2023 at 8:49
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    $\begingroup$ @Trioxidane on that I agree. I love What We Do In The Shadows (the series) because it subtly criticizes that every now and then. $\endgroup$ Dec 28, 2023 at 15:03
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Vampires on the whole don't need to be smarter than humans. Just like trap does not need to be smarter than a animal it lures. Vampires use sexual attraction to lure its prey. Most humans toss their judgement down the window when presented with a sexual if the other end is really attractive. Add some pheromones and thats it.

Attractiveness is not really a problem for a creature that does not age, or atleast does not appear to age. But even if it wouldnt be humans are not actually very shy creatures at large. All that a vampire really needs to achieve is getting alone with its prey. Since vampires do not kill the subject, but cause dream like amnesia, it gets harder to recognize the act. This kind of thing hardly unusual in certain deomgraphic, which is usually what the vampire mainly gets its sutenance from.

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  • $\begingroup$ Is the position of this answer "you don't need brains as long as you have beauty". Or is it "having beauty has aggressively negated the need for brains"? The thought of air headed vampires is amusing. $\endgroup$
    – DKNguyen
    Dec 28, 2023 at 16:42
  • $\begingroup$ @DKNguyen my position is neither. You don't need to be smarter than your prey to lure people into a trap just something they desire. $\endgroup$
    – joojaa
    Dec 28, 2023 at 16:44
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Your vampires are no different from a multitude of societies. They prey on humans while looking like humans. Because they are humans. Many many societies lived off raiding others for their needs. Some built empires doing it but most just existed.

They're not smarter than other humans, they have just weaponised their lifestyle and become very good at preying on other societies'.

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    $\begingroup$ Well, per their previous question, both vampires and humans died out due to a Stone Age volcanic eruption and left behind interspecies hybrids. The vampires can't be good at building societies or preying on other societies, or it wouldn't be hybrids coming over from the alternate Earth. $\endgroup$
    – KEY_ABRADE
    Dec 27, 2023 at 2:24
  • $\begingroup$ @KEY_ABRADE how so? We're all Hybrids of such societies' right now. If you're English you're a hybrid of a bunch of different piratical societies mixed together etc,. AT some point the lifestyle no longer suits and the society does something else or disappears. (in broad strokes) $\endgroup$
    – Kilisi
    Dec 27, 2023 at 9:55
  • $\begingroup$ OP means hybrids in the "liger" sense, not in the cultural evolution sense. $\endgroup$
    – KEY_ABRADE
    Dec 27, 2023 at 11:22
  • $\begingroup$ Both sides are human, OP isn't saying 10 million years divergence $\endgroup$
    – Kilisi
    Dec 27, 2023 at 11:24

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