Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Thursday, May 24, 2018

My, Grandma, What a Big Brain You Have!

"The findings are intriguing because they suggest that some aspects of social complexity are more likely to be consequences rather than causes of our large brain size, and that the large human brain is more likely to stem from ecological problem-solving and cumulative culture than it is from social manoeuvring."
Dr Mauricio Gonz├ílez-Forero, School of Biology, University of St Andrews, Scotland
Why Are Human Brains So Big?
Human brains are about three times as large as those of our early australopithecines ancestors that lived 4 million to 2 million years ago, and for years, scientists have wondered how our brains got so big.  Credit: NIH, NIDA
"Compared to almost all other animals, human brains are larger as a percentage of body weight. And since the emergence of the first species in our Homo genus (Homo habilis) about 2 million years ago, the human brain has doubled in size. And when compared to earlier ancestors, such as australopithecines that lived 4 million to 2 million years ago, our brains are three times as large. For years, scientists have wondered what could account for this increase."

Tough conditions are responsible for making the human brain disproportionately large, new research at the University of St Andrews has found.

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