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Big Brains Not Always Better

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posted on Feb, 20 2005 @ 06:02 PM

WASHINGTON D.C. - Nearly three million years ago, our ancestors had brains about as big as modern chimps. Since then the brain that would become human grew steadily, tripling in size. But this extra cranium capacity may not have resulted in smarter hominids.

As far as tool-making is concerned, there is little evidence of improvement over much of the period that the brain was growing.

i always thought that a bigger brain was better???

then again, i thought that all of our brains were the same size

posted on Feb, 20 2005 @ 06:34 PM
Bigger brains doesnt necessarily mean being smarter. Neandertals had bigger brains then us.

posted on Feb, 20 2005 @ 06:35 PM
I believe denser is better, bigger I agree is definately not better. Some birds are literally way smarter then dogs yet they have a way smaller brain, whats up with that...

posted on Feb, 20 2005 @ 06:40 PM
More important then brain size is Brain size to body weight ratio. A orca has a brain four time bigger then a human buts its ratio to its body size is smaller. But even doing it that way is not perfect buts its better to go by then just brain size.

posted on Feb, 20 2005 @ 06:54 PM
Inteligence can roughly be pegged to an increase in surface area on the brain. Smaller brains tend to have more folds, and hence smaller brains may on average have more surface area. The folds are more important than the outer dimensions when looking for inteligence.

Dolphins are a good example of this. They have a medium sized brain, but it has pronounced folds and is very dense. Bottle nosed Dolphins at least (I presume the same is true of most or all other species) are able to use a greater portion of their brain than we can, probably due to the depth of the folds in our respective grey matter. Dolphins have a brain with exceedingly deep channels, and a tight, interknitted structure. On top of that, their brain is split farther down the middle than ours, almost to the base. That's a ton of extra surface area, on top of the density in their folds.

A large brain with the same number of folds as a small brain would be much smarter, it would have more surface area on which to store data, and more connections possible meaning a greater depth of inteligence. An enormous brain with the correct sensors could accurately predict the future, even our modern Brain: V.Beta can sometimes do it.

Even though the number of connections grows larger in big brains, perhaps the transfer time, or thinking speed decreases? If the brain's software has to index a much larger set of folders, it might not have the same agility when comparing ideas and searching for data.

I'm just happy I have a big brain that works at all, whether or not my folds are dense.

posted on Feb, 20 2005 @ 07:04 PM
I can't remember where I head it but apparently our brains have been slowly growing larger with increased density (more folds) over the last couple of hundred years? Something like from 1100cc average volume to 1300cc? I wonder if that has anything to do with the increase in complex technology or more hectic lifestyles?

posted on Feb, 20 2005 @ 07:21 PM
There is also a correlation between dream activity and advanced brain development. The process of dreaming is a kind of organization/comparison software than grabs images from your visual memory, auditory memories, and concepts, and slaps them together into an experience to try and learn something. The brain is trying to understand the world any way it can, and the brains that understand things the best, generally inspire their meat puppets to have lots of offspring and teach them well.

Evolution at its finest. The human brain is evolving, but I can't help but thinking that we're slowing down the process with some of our cultural practices. I wonder what the world would be like after 5 or 10 thousand years of constant global war. Would we be more fit, more resitant to chemical and biological agents? Or would we be cave dwelling mutant troll cannibals with substandard table manners and lousy vocabulary? I think that's where the element of randomness comes in.

Gotta love chaos, it keeps us on our toes, keeps the ball rolling, keeps the gyroscope spinning. If it weren't for randomness in genetics, we wouldn't even evolve at all. In answer to your question goofus, I don't think it has anything to do with our technology or our complicated lives. I think it's just an example of a good system renewing and refning itself.

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