Sophisticated Rodents and Playful Octopi

I have two burning questions that I have been saving up to ask an evolutionary biologist should I happen to run into one. The first is

If all the primates were to die off, from which class would the next dominant intelligent species evolve?

The other is

When, in evolutionary time, did play evolve?

Richard Dawkins, in The Ancestor’s Tale answers the first question (rodents). This article, Games Animals Play, hints at the answer to the second.

I expected the answer to include the word mammal as I am not familiar with any reptiles that frolic and gambol the way that we do. But, according to Carl Zimmer, apparently even turtles enjoy a bit of fun and octopi have been observed playing with lego. I need to go get the book he mentions: The Genesis of Animal Play.

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Ragged Clown

Based in San Jose, California

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