without Hands no Intelligence

This lead to a theory about the origin and operation of intelligence, described in a book in the Dutch language: zonder Handen geen Intelligentie (without Hands no Intelligence).

In anticipation of the edition of the book, I will outline the principles of how intelligence works according to me in this article. Subsequently I will start with applying these principles to the chimp and its predecessors living in the African jungles. This latter point is important because the chimpanzee in the zoo leads a completely different way of life. Note that the chimp is a very special animal. Not only because of its sophisticated lifestyle but also because human beings and this animal have a common ancestor that looked very much like the chimpanzee. He thereby somewhat fulfills the role of our ancestor of 6 million years ago.

Picture Story

The following Picture Story gives answers to questions such as: Genesis or origin of intelligence, what is intelligence, and how does intelligence work. Or in other words: what makes humans different from animals.

transferring a message
1 - Most animals also have intelligence but much less than humans.
For example: to transfer a message a lion urinates on a bush; we place a no entry sign.

research has been done to find out how our brains operate
2 - A lot of research has been done to find out how our brains operate when thinking intelligently.
Still there is not even a general agreement of what intelligence is. It is difficult if you do not know what to look for.

replace research with imagination
3 - Usually scientific research is applied to find an answer to a question about a phenomena.
People sometimes use their imagination to solve a problem and see how it works. I did the same and replaced research with imagination.

the power of the brain to create a new manipulation
4 - My imagination says: Intelligence is the power of the brain to create a new manipulation which is advantageous to the manipulator .
Manipulation here is : processing objects and matter and not misleading anybody.

intelligence creates a better manipulation
5 - Example: you see our distant predecessor eating fruits.
On the left he is still biting the fruits from the branches. But he developed holding devices which enabled him to pick the fruits. His intelligence created a new manipulation so he could reach fruits too far away from his mouth.

manipulation is the core of the theory
6 - Manipulation is the core of my theory.
Why manipulation and not speech or social behaviour?
Manipulation brought us a highly developed society. The chimp on the left could already crush a note with a rock, mankind made the wheel and attached parts with bolts and nuts. Language and social behavior made it possible to perfect the manipulations to high standards, but no more than that.

when a new property means better survival it will remain as a new property
7 - How did an animal become intelligent?
A child does not always inherit exactly the same genes as his parents. Sometimes a gene deviates during copying, we call this a mutation. A gene defines a property.
When a new property means better survival it will remain as a new property. In this way intelligence originated for animals as an inheritable property.

intelligence as a bottle containing  manipulations
8 - The initial intelligence had a limit for inventing new manipulations. This is part of the intelligence theory F.
See intelligence as a bottle containing manipulations. Manipulations were added as a result of intelligence.
But a bottle has a limited content. No more new manipulations could be added to a full bottle.

creation of new manipulations
9 - When the bottle was full, a new mutation could enlarge the bottle. Now the creation of new manipulations could be continued until either the manipulation power was exhausted or the bottle was full again.

animals have the power to create new manipulations
10 - Now another look. The mutation which generated intelligence occurred to all animals from the moment they existed. All animals have the power to create new manipulations, whether it is a fish, bird or snake, it does not matter. But see how this works out.

lifelines of a fish, bird and a chimpanzee
11 - Each specie of animals has his own history in evolving him from embryonic stem cell to the present state. During that evolution his bottle grew (read intelligence) pending his capacity to manipulate.

a deer can scrape snow to reach grass
12 - A few examples.
A deer can scrape snow to reach grass, lick off a new born calf, tear grass to eat but not much more. He does not have the attributes to create any more new manipulations. His bottle stayed very small.

a robin can build an unbelievable ingenious bowl
13 - A robin, the bird with the red breast, performs better. He can build an unbelievable ingenious nest with braches and straws requiring many different manipulations with his bill and body only. A human hand can hardly imitate this. But a robin does it, but not much more.

a jackdaw is famous for his cleverness
14 - A jackdaw, the smaller nephew of the crow, is better still, he has strong bill and claws which can grasp, he opens nuts. He can hoist a fat-ball suspended on a rope. He is famous for his cleverness.

the chimpanzee is the champion among the animals
15 - But the champion among the animals is the chimpanzee. He uses rocks, sticks and straws as a tool because his hands enable him to do so. He crushes a nut with a rock and fishes ants out of their nest with a straw.

our hands are able to perform an almost unlimited variation of manipulations
16 - But the best manipulator in the world is us, because our hands are able to perform an almost unlimited variation of manipulations. We can split wood requiring much force but also place a thread through the eye of a needle requiring delicate manoeuvering.

mankind exceeds all animals in intelligence
17 - If we consolidate the examples and put the bottles together, we can conclude that the more an animal can manipulate the more his bottle could evolve to a higher size.
That is why animals differ in intelligence and why mankind exceeds all animals in intelligence.

Anaxagoras (500-428 BC)
18 - The Greek philosopher Anaxagoras, who lived long before Christ (500-428 BC), already saw a similarity between body shape and intelligence.
A few authors of this time also assume the hands shape our brain.

Today you are a witness of the birth of a new theory. A theory that explains exactly what intelligence is and how the hands were the facilitator of our intelligence. This is completely new to the theory behind intelligence.

Now you have got to know the basic concepts of theory F. They answer questions such as: (4) What is intelligence; (5) How does intelligence operate; (7) How did intelligence arise and (17) Why are we different from an animal.
There is still the concept of arsenal to be added. It is the total number of manipulations which an animal has.
That number is also a measure of his intelligence (17).
This designation is called: IN (Intelligence Number).

Intelligence in action

Here are some more examples to give you an impression of the arsenal of the Chimp:


  1. Fishing ants with a sprig from an ant hill and stripping the annexed ants with the mouth.
  2. Crumpling a plant leaf in his mouth cavity to a shape of a ball like a sponge with which he can absorb water from unreachable tree armpits.
  3. Building a tree nest each evening from branches and leaves.
  4. Grooming a peer by he picking off dust particles with his lips. He doesn’t have an opposable thumb to do this with a finger and thumb (see figure)
  5. Lifting arm upwards as an invitation to come and groom.
  6. Grinning with closed mouth to express submission.
  7. Whimper = whining softly, to show embarrassment or sadness especially with children if they are refused something (at whining softly a sound is being generated that for the listener has a meaning, the whiner manipulates the air with its voice box in such a way that this sound is produced)

The numbers including 1 to 4 are called thing manipulations, they increase the well-being of the animal, the well-being was completely established by the hands. They constitute half of the 50 manipulations.
The numbers 5 and 6 are manipulations of the body to an attitude that is noticed and has a meaning for the spectator.
Number 7 is a manipulation of the air through the larynx, creating sounds that have meaning for the listener.

These three communication manipulations are also expressions of social behavior, they manipulate the mind of the other to move them to be benevolent. The body, air and mind manipulations constitute the social traffic with congeners and together constitute the other half of the 50. For each of those manipulations there is a reasoning, as above. Namely how by an expression of intelligence, as defined by theory F, that manipulation was established. This verifies the definition by using an observable reality. Because this verification leads to many plausible explanations, it means that this definition is no longer only plausible but is also actually true.

Without hands no intelligence

Finally I want to emphasize the overriding role of the hands in the development of the intelligence. In creating intelligence of the chimpanzee the hands only account for half, the other half was created by communication and emotion manipulation. However the latter cannot exist on their own, they can only function in a body and between bodies. That body was created by evolution. The intelligence guided that evolution to chimpanzee because their ancestors had hands. This allowed the intelligence to express itself more versatile than animals without hands and he reached the highest sophistication of all animals: the chimpanzee.
The ability to communicate could only develop as belonging to that body, and so indirectly as a result of the hands.

So: without Hands no Intelligence

Source and rights of illustrations including article 2: Drawn images by Max Farjon. Article 1: picture story 2,13,14,18; Article 2: crosssection brain © see ext.20 on www.zonderhandengeenintelligentie.nl