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How I Knew Trilobites Were Brighter Than Sheep

In the talk.origins I casually remarked:

Maybe they were like sheep back then. The cows evolved; the sheep didn’t. Sheep are the only animal that can’t out think a trilobite.

John Wilkins inquired:

Richard, how did you assess the relative intelligence of sheep vis a vis trilobites? Do you have a secret hoard of trilobites that survived the Flood?

Here is my reply:

Well, now, that’s a long story. A while back I was in Central Africa on a sauropod hunting expedition. We didn’t exactly find any sauropods but we did find some men which sort of proves that men and dinosaurs lived together at the same time except that dinosaurs are shyer than men.

Anyway we were canoeing this little stream, following a sauropod. We knew we were on its trail because it had just taken a dump. Sauropods being the big eaters that they are the steam was, ah, contaminated. We had just turned a bend when something grabbed our oar and pulled it away from us. So there we were in the middle of the jungle and, so to speak, up shit creek without a paddle.

Being the scientific sorts that we were we decided to find out what it was that had grabbed our paddle. It might have been crocs but these weren’t croc waters. So I pulled out a lobster pot (I always carry a lobster pot when I make field trips – you never know when you might need one) and put it in the stream. Sure enough I caught something in the pot.

I pulled it in and what did I see – a trilobite. Now as you know trilobites used to be salt water creatures. Evidently they had evolved into fresh water creatures. This explains why nobody has found recent trilobite fossils. They’ve been looking in the wrong sediments.

Anyway we pulled half a dozen of the critters. I decided to give them the standard animal comparative intelligence test. (I always carried my animal IQ kit with me when I went on field trips – you never know but what you might find a new animal and want to know how smart it is.) So I ran them through the battery of tests and sure enough, trilobites are smarter than sheep.

I let them go, of course. It was the only ethical thing to do. After all they are an endangered species.

So that’s how I knew. You wouldn’t be doubting my word on this, would you?

This page was last updated February 28, 1998.