# Is this an intelligent life form?

An alien life form is found that has a pattern of stripes on its back. The pattern is black, red, yellow, green, cyan, blue, and magenta, black, and so on. It is found that for each series of different colored stripes the red is on average twice as large as the black, the yellow is on average three times as large as the black, the green is on average five times as large as the black, the cyan is on average seven times as large as the black, the blue is on average eleven times as large as the black, and the magenta is on average thirteen times as large as the black.

It is also found that these aliens have the five regular solids growing out of their skin in tiny form and the ratio between the wavelength of sound the two sexes make is on average pi.

It is found that these traits seem to be a result of sexual selection as the closer an individuals ratio between the colored stripes and the black stripe is to the sequence of prime numbers the more likely it is to find a mate, the more perfect the regular solids growing out of an individuals skin are the more likely it is to find a mate, and the closer the ratio between the wavelength of two individuals sounds is to pi the more likely they are to mate with each other. There are two different species of this life form; one in which the males have sound waves that are pi times as long as the females, and one in which the females have sound waves that are pi times as long as the males.

The life form is also found to have primitive tools and to manipulate its environment to make structures that have the sole purpose of being mating grounds.

Would this life form definitely qualify as an intelligent life form based on the information provided?

• we usually relate intelligence to problem solving like how humans develop sophisticated technology like quantum computer to calculate complex problem, however when comes to efficiency of quantum computing we are only second to plant which is capable of making super fast decision for photons to take the appropriate pathways to make sugar... I'll never look at plant in the same way ever again! btw I haven't touch on Fibonacci numbers in plant lol. Oct 15, 2015 at 7:28
• Relevant: How could humans recognize... Oct 15, 2015 at 12:02
• Anything that can make tools would qualify as an "intelligent life form". You could have just said "The life form is also found to have primitive tools" and skipped all the stripe stuff. Oct 16, 2015 at 13:11

There are all kinds of math sequences found in nature. The Golden ratio is one such here on Earth. Flowers like the Fibonacci sequence. Does that make them intelligent? No. Intelligence has nothing to do with regular patterns found in the life cycle of the organism. As a matter of fact I would say that abiding so strictly to specific patterns would actually appear to be less intelligent to me, as in living more by instincts than by thought.

However, being able to use tools, which are used to solve problems does make them much more likely to be intelligent. The question is how intelligent? Many of the other apes species use tools. None of them qualify as Einstein. Even Otters and Ravens use simple tools to open up clams and snails (rocks).

• Several other types of animals use tools too (such as birds). Some cephalopods have learned how to open mason jars. Ants have domesticated aphids and farm too. Tool use by itself isn't sufficient to label a creature as "intelligent". However, if we found something that we thought was borderline intelligent AND it used tools, that might tip our thinking. Also remember that as others stated above, humans don't really have a good definition of "intelligence" yet. Oct 15, 2015 at 14:46
• @Jim2B yes, I was trying to make the point, tools are a better indication of intelligence, but even there isn't fool proof. Oct 15, 2015 at 14:51

It could easily be done with instinct, and not involve "intelligence" in any real way.

For instance the Golden Ratio is all over the place in plants and animals, but it doesn't mean any of them know what it means, or are able to control it.

These creatures don't sound like they have any control over their patterns or their vocalizations, meaning whether they are "prime" for getting a mate is all up to random chance.

Say one of the males has the ideal pattern and vocal modulation, it does its display, and the female just gets a switch flipped to trigger the mating mode.

Based on the evidence given, I would say instinct, not intelligence.

• Prime numbers do in fact crop up in Cicada lifecyle, directly affecting their ability to mate, and no-one is considering that to be a sign of intelligence. Article: newyorker.com/tech/elements/… Oct 15, 2015 at 13:23

The Creator (if any) of these organisms appears to be quite mathematical-philosopher type but the creatures themselves are in a gray-zone (unknown). We, humans don't have pi ratio between gender voice wavelengths, we don't have stripes on our back and yet we are the most intelligent life form on Earth.

You are giving us the wrong type of information to deduce whether your creatures are intelligent or not. It is like "If there are 13 red balls and 17 green balls in a bag and the combined mass of the bag with balls is 17 kg, are red balls heavier than green ones?"

• Following on from your last paragraph: Or if you found a bag containing 2 red balls, 3 green balls, 5 black balls, 7 purple balls etc - is the bag intelligent? Oct 15, 2015 at 13:21
• lol. A prerequisite would be => Is this bag alive? :D Oct 15, 2015 at 13:28

Define intelligent. To me, the level of intelligence should only be quantified by "The life form is also found to have...." In which case, we have birds, mammals, and crustaceans, among others, that do this. So, I would not call it a being with the ability to reason. But an Octopus could be considered intelligent. Do you mean beings able to reason? Then, without other information, no I wouldn't. I could guess that it may be sentient, as in, able to have subjective perceptual experiences.

More information would have to be gathered, which is why biology is fun.

• Given the information we have: Nope. It's not intelligent. But when it's horny it can build a fourteen bedroom mansion with attached Jacuzzi, so maybe we're wrong??? Oct 15, 2015 at 13:25

Taking the primes, because they are the easy to discuss example, we do not consider the usage of prime numbers to be intelligence. We do believe you need intelligence to comprehend the abstract concept of prime numbers, so anything which demonstrates that abstract concept would be a more likely candidate for earning the title of "intelligent." For example, if we found that the species could deduce 671998030559713968361666935769 is a prime number, we might look into them further.

It still wouldn't be a full blown sign of intelligence. Computer programs can do this today, and we do not consider them intelligent.

• In part, obviously, because deducing whether a given number is prime is something somebody has programmed the computer to do. If the computer itself, without having been specifically programmed to do so, decided that it wanted to determine whether a random number is prime, and figured out a way to do so, then we might start wondering...
– user
Oct 16, 2015 at 8:52
• @MichaelKjörling True, for large numbers like that. Smaller primes tend to be easier to find as special cases. Oct 16, 2015 at 15:51