What I mean is: instead of a "rat" evolving into primates and those tree hugging primate becoming bipedal great apes, imagine a "rat" evolving into a dog-like or cat-like animal, then that animal becoming a tree hugger, which then turns into a great upright-standing "canis homo sapiens."

In short, if tree climbing canine-like animals got the same environmental pressures that lead to human intelligence, what whould it look like? And could this have happened?

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    $\begingroup$ I don't think it matters if it is canine/mammal, avian, insect or reptile as long as the important parts evolve. Dexterity enough for tool making and using, (beyond the basics that even some avians show). Detailed communication and quite possibly read/writing and maths would be critical. As author, you design them -- but, imo, they need hands and speech and the ability to learn and apply/share it. Intelligence can be fluid. Could beings with an IQ of 70-90 make a civilisation beyond basic survival? So I can't answer, but I'd say if the criteria are met -- maybe. ;) $\endgroup$ – WRX Feb 13 '17 at 21:09
  • $\begingroup$ food for thought. "As far as paleontologists can tell, the very first carnivorous mammals evolved during the late Cretaceous period, about 75 million years ago (the half-pound Cimolestes, which lived high up in trees, being the most likely candidate). However, it's more likely that every carnivorous animal alive today can trace its ancestry back to Miacis, a slightly bigger, weasel-like creature that lived about 55 million years ago, or 10 million years after the dinosaurs went extinct." dinosaurs.about.com/od/otherprehistoriclife/a/… $\endgroup$ – EveryBitHelps Feb 13 '17 at 21:28
  • $\begingroup$ Trees are not something within the scope of most canines, they tend to be ground hunters (a cat might bridge the gap better, they can at least get up the tree). A tree climbing canine would likely already be far enough removed from the canines we know, that that canine heritage would not be visibly apparent to us, they would likely end up being, practically, fairly similar to primates since they would be shaped by the same pressures. $\endgroup$ – Megha Feb 15 '17 at 7:20
  • $\begingroup$ You might want to read up about the Fossa - it is cat-like and hunts in the trees, and has weird ankles to allow it to do that. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fossa_(animal) $\endgroup$ – DrBob Feb 26 '17 at 18:25

You need several things to converge for intelligence to build and eventually lead to what we think of sentience.

  1. pressure to go bipedal, which provides advantages in distance vision vs. quadruped animals.
  2. increased brain size to develop higher intelligence
  3. sustained increased calorie intake to fuel the larger brains
  4. tools -- the ability to make and use them
  5. empathy to encourage social interaction
  6. language

This article on evolution of human intelligence might give you a useful framework.

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Primates developed versatile hands and feet due to living in an arboreal environment for tens of millions of years. Cats have claws which are sufficient for clambering about a tree and there would be no advantage to a cat evolving hands. Developing tools would be difficult without hands.

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As answer by CWallach tells, first of all you need hands.

Primates are very evolutionary close to Rodentia, who also have quite developed hands

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On the other hand, all canines have lost their hands in favor of claws. It is inevident how they could develop hands again.

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  • $\begingroup$ GUYS ! I appreciate the answers guys i read them all. My question was a bit long winded and kind of confusing, so im happy to see you guys got the point. Once again, thanks alot ! $\endgroup$ – Ferimosi Feb 15 '17 at 6:46

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