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What other species of animal, besides monkeys, would be able to develop enough intelligence to use tools, such as the wheel for example, living in society, communicating verbally and in writing and reasoning, etc.

I want to know what this creature would look like, its physical structure.

I hope I have asked the questions correctly and that they can help me.

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closed as too broad by Erik, L.Dutch, kingledion, Hohmannfan, James Mar 22 '17 at 21:06

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ I think this is much too broad to answer. Lots of creatures might maybe evolve to be intelligent, it mostly requires selecting for large brains and prehensile digits. $\endgroup$ – Erik Mar 22 '17 at 19:18
  • $\begingroup$ There are too many questions in this post, and these many questions each have too many possible answers. I am voting to close this question as 'too broad' $\endgroup$ – kingledion Mar 22 '17 at 20:02
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    $\begingroup$ Writing is a technology rather than an evolved trait. Yes the creatures would have to be intelligent to create or use language but you could imagine a species more intelligent than humans never developing a written language (unlikely but not impossible). $\endgroup$ – Lio Elbammalf Mar 22 '17 at 20:04
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    $\begingroup$ I'm having trouble finding the story now, but I read about chimps that learned to request items by hitting the appropriate symbol on a touch screen. When the screen was removed one day for maintenance, their handlers were surprised to observe the chimps crudely drawing the glyphs that were clearly identifiable as imitations of the symbols from their removed touch screen. That's the closest to writing I'm aware of outside of humans. $\endgroup$ – Stephen Lujan Mar 22 '17 at 20:21
  • $\begingroup$ the question was edited $\endgroup$ – thierseuller Mar 23 '17 at 18:16
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There several species on Earth that could perhaps reach that level of intelligence. Think of crows, octopi, dolphins, chimps, pigs.

However there has to be a evolutionary reason to form intelligence. It takes a great deal of energy to support such a brain, there has to be a compelling reason to make such a commitment.

The general consensus is that intelligence is most likely to form among group hunting predators. These need to communicate and work together. So what you need is a species that lives in small groups, uses communication daily to survive. Like how humans got together and hunted large mammals.

For tool usage one doesn't need human like hands. Elephants, Dolphins, sea otters, Parrots, crows and octopi all shown to use tools. None of them have 'hands'. Now it is likely that some form of hands must evolve to use tools to the same extent we do but it's not a fixed requirement.

Concrete things like the wheel obviously require our species to live on land as I doubt any marine animals would create wheels underwater.

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    $\begingroup$ Octopus is an English word, with the plural octopuses. If you consider it to be a Latinized Greek word then the plural would be octopodes. Never *octopi. Anyway, better say cephalopodes -- after all, squid are intelligent too. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Mar 22 '17 at 19:35
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    $\begingroup$ Merriam Webster and Oxford English both list it as plural for octopus. Might not make 'sense' but it's used often enough to be accepted. $\endgroup$ – Mormacil Mar 22 '17 at 19:38
  • $\begingroup$ I live and I learn! My copy of OED is getting behind the times... $\endgroup$ – AlexP Mar 22 '17 at 19:40
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    $\begingroup$ It's a contested word for sure. But if enough people use it wrongly it tends to get accepted. I'll try and refrain from using it in my posts :P $\endgroup$ – Mormacil Mar 22 '17 at 19:43
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    $\begingroup$ The proper plural of "octopus" is "way too many legs to count." $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Mar 22 '17 at 20:13
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What would they look like? Here are a few considerations:

Their brains should be larger, adjusted for physical size, than a similar animal that does not possess the same level of intelligence. This implies a larger skull in general. This species might have to be born premature to prevent the increasing skull size from complicating birth. As an added note, it has been suggested that the similarities between an adult human skull and an infant chimpanzee skull are not coincidental. Some researchers think that the retention of juvenile characteristics plays an important role in the evolution of at least some social animals. So if you like that line of thought your species might be on the more gracile side of things.

Would they have hand-like appendages: I would say yes. It would seem that human intelligence is intimately tied to our ability to manipulate objects precisely. I have no scientific reason that this should be so, but it seems to make sense.

What would it take for them to write? This is an astoundingly interesting and complicated question. Cognitive Psychologist Steven Pinker thinks that humans evolved to speak, but not to write. He points to the ease with which humans learn spoken language, the difficulty of learning written language, and the fact that someone can be a competent speaker but poor writer as possible evidence. My point in bringing this up is to point out that the mental underpinnings of written language may be substantially different than those of spoken language. So intelligence and linguistic competence might not be enough to get written language. For example perhaps a species needs an evolved capacity for what we call culture, in addition to intelligence and language, in order to develop writing.

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