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Forget the textbook story about tool use and language sparking the dramatic evolutionary growth of the human brain. Instead, imagine ancient hominid children chasing frogs. Not for fun, but for food.
According to Dr. Stephen Cunnane it was a rich and secure shore-based diet that fuelled and provided the essential nutrients to make our brains what they are today. Controversially, according to Dr. Cunnane our initial brain boost didn't happen by adaptation, but by exaptation, or chance.
"Anthropologists and evolutionary biologists usually point to things like the rise of language and tool making to explain the massive expansion of early hominid brains. But this is a Catch-22. Something had to start the process of brain expansion and I think it was early humans eating clams, frogs, bird eggs and fish from shoreline environments. This is what created the necessary physiological conditions for explosive brain growth," says Dr. Cunnane, a metabolic physiologist at the University of Sherbrooke in Sherbrooke, Quebec.
The evolutionary growth in hominid brain size remains a mystery and a major point of contention among anthropologists. Our brains weigh roughly twice as much as our similarly sized earliest human relative, Homo habilis two million years ago. The big question is which came first -- the bigger brain or the social, linguistic and tool-making skills we associate with it?
But, Dr. Cunnane argues that most anthropologists are ignorant or dismissive of the key missing link to help answer this question: the metabolic constraints that are critical for healthy human brain development today, and for its evolution.
Originally posted by cedargrove
Interesting article. The only part I disagree with is when he said that there was no initial selection for a larger brain. Although his definition of initial may change the interpretation of that statement. And there's so much room for argument that I don't have it in me at the moment. I will pass on an interesting fact I read a few days ago. It appears that women are making men smarter. While it can obviously be disputed a study (peer reviewed, i'll find it if anyone is that interested) came out that said women tend to select more intelligent, successful men which overtime has increased the base intelligence level of males. So the next time a girl passes you over you can just think about how she's really just trying to ensure a future with more intelligence than you have to offer.
Anyways, great find. Maybe mom was right about finishing my fish.
Originally posted by Chakotay
All the more reason TO RESTORE THE SEA!!
What the good Dr. has forgotten about live clams is that they are NOT available year 'round. In the North, you don't eat them in months with less than seven letters.
That factoid killed off dumb hominids in the past- and still does today.
Originally posted by Frosty
Yes, high protein diet is the best thing to ever happen to makind. And no wonder vegetarians are so stupid.