A few days ago one of my readers, Mark, forwarded this fascinating video depicting what appears to be a new spider species that makes up for its diminutive size by making large decoy spiders in its web. The “Smarter Every Day” youtube channel that has produced the story is a well established presence on youtube with over 33,000,000 views and 465,000 subscribers. As you’ll see in the video, the modest arachnid shows itself remarkably adept at fashioning imitation spiders down to surprisingly precise anatomical details. This reminds me of biological mimicry except in this case the spider is acting to create a decoy spider.
Given the primitive nature of a spider brain we can hardly impute such a sophisticated mental life to the arachnid as if “he” is purposefully working to create a decoy spider. But then how does one support such extraordinary skills? And to ask the inevitable question, can a superintending intelligence categorically be excluded from that explanation?