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Dutchess_III's avatar

Do you think that, on average, carnivores are more intelligent than herbivores?

Asked by Dutchess_III (26698 points ) March 23rd, 2014

Having a discussion on fb about this. I think it may be possible. After all, it takes more brains to track and hunt something than it does to hunt grass.

On the other hand, though, horses and elephants, for example, are pretty smart.

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15 Answers

GloPro's avatar

Well, hunting plants doesn’t take as much effort… So there’s that.
But there’s a fine art to sustaining plant life. I can’t seem to get it.

Symbeline's avatar

I think as far as that is concerned, the survival instinct plays most of the role, rather than intelligence.

Dutchess_III's avatar

That’s true too. It takes some brains to avoid getting eaten.

Bluefreedom's avatar

I think it might depend on the species of animal that you are talking about rather than the type of food source that each one relies on. Scientists have already recognized some very intelligent animal species so it could be that there are both herbivores and carnivores that are equally smart, in some instances.

Seek's avatar

I think it bears mentioning that the great apes are either herbivorous or om-nom-nom-nivorous.

Perhaps flexibility is a trait stemming from intelligence?

Coloma's avatar

I’m not sure, exactly what Octopus eat, fish, sea animals I think, but…I just heard yesterday that scientists are so astounded at their intelligence that they say if they were land animals they would take over the world. Go Octopussies! lol

ibstubro's avatar

I think your mention of the elephant kind of precludes both diet and survival instinct since elephants are intelligent herbivores that have few natural predators.

gondwanalon's avatar

Are you asking are mammals of the Order Carnivora more intelligent than those of Order Herbivora? (FYI: Humans are in the Order Primates)

As you likely know, not all members of Carnivora and Herbivora have diets that consistent.
Panda Bears are in the Order Carnivora and yet eat only bamboo.

Also some Herbivora species such as Muntjacs, also known as barking deer (from Asia) and the Duiker (rom Africa) are known to supplement a poor nutritional plant diet with insects and mice when they can get them.

Anyway I don’t think that there is any member of the Order Herbivora that can match wits with a Timber Wolf or a Coyote.

By the way elephants are not in the Order Herbivora, They are in the Order Proboscidea.

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

I don’t understand why this is a debate in anyone’s mind. Carnivores have to eat their prey, therefore they have to imagine what their prey will do, and respond.

Prey just do without any planning.

longgone's avatar

If that’s true…how d’you explain humans? ~

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I would think that it takes intelligence to determine what plants you can eat and which plants kill you. That said hunting and stalking prey takes planning and skill. A proper diet would be that of an omnivore. My vote is that an omnivore is probably more intelligent than both.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Interesting question. Think about it: The easy answer is a carnivore. Chasing something down or ambushing it takes some thought. But pretty much everything you can catch like that isn’t going to kill you. Some poisonous species, yes. But how many more plants are poisonous or hallucinogenic and will give you more problems?

Bill1939's avatar

Intelligence exists in a variety of forms, some so distinct from human intelligence that it is often not recognized. Plants and animals exhibit the ability to learn from changing environmental conditions and communicate their experiences with others of their species that respond in ways enhancing their ability to survive and reproduce.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe But it also takes some intelligence to avoid getting hunted down.

Symbeline's avatar

@Bill1939 Reminds me of when a bee finds a potential set of flowers to harvest, it goes back to its buddies and does a type of dance, which the other bees interpret as a map to where the flowers are. Can’t be JUST instinct, as the flowers are in a different place every time, and the bee seem to realize this, and needs to ’‘dance’’ out the proper locations, so the other bees can get to the place.

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