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What Happened to the Hominids Who May Have Been Smarter Than Us?

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posted on Sep, 24 2011 @ 05:43 AM
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What Happened to the Hominids Who May Have Been Smarter Than Us?


Two neuroscientists say that a now-extinct race of humans had big eyes, child-like faces, and an average intelligence of around 150, making them geniuses among Homo sapiens.

We have seen reports of Boskop brain size ranging from 1,650 to 1,900 cc. Let’s assume that an average Boskop brain was around 1,750 cc. What does this mean in terms of function? How would a person with such a brain differ from us? Our brains are roughly 25 percent larger than those of the late Homo erectus. We might say that the functional difference between us and them is about the same as between ourselves and Boskops.

Expanding the brain changes its internal proportions in highly predictable ways. From ape to human, the brain grows about fourfold, but most of that increase occurs in the cortex, not in more ancient structures. Moreover, even within the cortex, the areas that grow by far the most are the association areas, while cortical structures such as those controlling sensory and motor mechanisms stay unchanged.

Going from human to Boskop, these association zones are even more disproportionately expanded. Boskop’s brain size is about 30 percent larger than our own—that is, a 1,750-cc brain to our average of 1,350 cc. And that leads to an increase in the prefrontal cortex of a staggering 53 percent. If these principled relations among brain parts hold true, then Boskops would have had not only an impressively large brain but an inconceivably large prefrontal cortex.

Even if brain size accounts for just 10 to 20 percent of an IQ test score, it is possible to conjecture what kind of average scores would be made by a group of people with 30 percent larger brains. We can readily calculate that a population with a mean brain size of 1,750 cc would be expected to have an average IQ of 149.

This is a score that would be labeled at the genius level. And if there was normal variability among Boskops, as among the rest of us, then perhaps 15 to 20 percent of them would be expected to score over 180. In a classroom with 35 big-headed, baby-faced Boskop kids, you would likely encounter five or six with IQ scores at the upper range of what has ever been recorded in human history.


Imagine the world today if average human IQ was almost 50% higher. Maybe the article is right, and harsh ancient world was not very conductive to high intelligence, especially at the cost of inferior physical strenght and child-like figures (imagine modern "nerds" in african wilderness
). But if Boskop people survived to these days, they may have been intellectual leaders in a modern civilisation.


edit on 24/9/11 by Maslo because: (no reason given)




posted on Sep, 24 2011 @ 05:49 AM
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reply to post by Maslo
 


i have no doubt we all have the ability to be this smart.
these hominids wouldnt have a society like we do today so they wouldnt have been constrictied, dumbed down or opressed.
plus their intillegince would have been applied in different ways, depending on the enviornment they find theresleves in.
same with us.
except we dont really need to apply our inteligence do we?



posted on Sep, 24 2011 @ 05:52 AM
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If true, it is probably due to inbreeding and the fact that being smart can kill large masses of people very quickly. I consider this fact because the leading scientists throughout history have been used to find ways to kill as many people as possible as quickly as possible. The atomic bomb was supposedly made for "peace". Too bad that didn't work out. Do I need to even mention biotech?



posted on Sep, 24 2011 @ 05:53 AM
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Welcome to evolution 101 my friend... Survival of the fittest, back then intelligence would have come second to strength and agility.



posted on Sep, 24 2011 @ 06:05 AM
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First of all claiming they were smarter than us requires extraordinary evidence (which there is none). Secondly, a brain 30% larger than the average human brain uses something like 200 - 300% more energy. Somehow, I don't see this as a winning combination in times of energy scarcity. Thirdly, brain size and intelligence don't show perfect correlation. As I recall, Neanderthals had much bigger brains than us, but still e.g. their tools were rather undeveloped in comparison to H. sapiens tools of the time..
edit on 24-9-2011 by rhinoceros because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 24 2011 @ 06:51 AM
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reply to post by rhinoceros
 




First of all claiming they were smarter than us requires extraordinary evidence (which there is none).


Well, they had 53% larger prefrontal cortex (which is responsible for higher cognition).



Thirdly, brain size and intelligence don't show perfect correlation.


Yes, not perfect, but there is significant correlation (0.44).

www.springerlink.com...


Even if brain size accounts for just 10 to 20 percent of an IQ test score, it is possible to conjecture what kind of average scores would be made by a group of people with 30 percent larger brains. We can readily calculate that a population with a mean brain size of 1,750 cc would be expected to have an average IQ of 149.


I would be very surprised if 53% larger prefrontal cortex would not result in higher intelligence.



As I recall, Neanderthals had much bigger brains than us, but still e.g. their tools were rather undeveloped in comparison to H. sapiens tools of the time..


This has been recently disputed, along with the lower intelligence of neanderthals claims:
news.softpedia.com...
anthropology.net...
www.science20.com...



Secondly, a brain 30% larger than the average human brain uses something like 200 - 300% more energy. Somehow, I don't see this as a winning combination in times of energy scarcity.


Yes, maybe thats why their other physical characteristics were child-like, because there was not enough energy left for strong muscles to develop. As I said, ancient world was probably not very conductive for this evolutionary strategy, thats why they dissapeared. But this would not pose a big problem in civilisation.


EDIT: even today, intelligence is negatively correlated with procreation. Maybe from an evolutionary perspective, intelligence is simply not a good trait for long-term survival.
edit on 24/9/11 by Maslo because: gbleh



posted on Sep, 24 2011 @ 08:14 AM
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Let me do a little cut and paste, to rebut your cut and paste frenzy there. I've never heard of this Boskop before, and a quick google turned this up:




The portrayal of "Boskops" in the Discover excerpt is so out of line with anthropology of the last forty years, that I am amazed the magazine printed it. I am unaware of any credible biological anthropologist or archaeologist who would confirm their description of the "Boskopoids," except as an obsolete category from the history of anthropology.

[UPDATE (2010-01-04): I have heard from Amos Zeeberg, the Web editor at Discover. He writes that the excerpt was intended to run identified as a "controversial idea, but that context didn't come across as intended." The web page has been changed to make that context clear, and to link to my discussion here. I think it's great that he responded so quickly, although I think that this case is not controversial, it's non-science. ] Besides that, the authors make several questionable statements about the relative sizes of parts of the brain and their relation to cognition and behavior in ancient hunter-gatherers.

IQ of fossils

We have no credible way of estimating the IQ of a fossil skull. The excerpt claims:

Even if brain size accounts for just 10 to 20 percent of an IQ test score, it is possible to conjecture what kind of average scores would be made by a group of people with 30 percent larger brains. We can readily calculate that a population with a mean brain size of 1,750 cc would be expected to have an average IQ of 149.

First of all, there never was any human population with a 1750 cc average brain size.
Now, taking the counterfactual: A regression equation within a population can predict an expected value for an individual within that population. But in population genetics, the average IQ that we would predict for a population with a 1750 cc average, depends on how the brain got to be that size. Natural selection on intelligence or brain size would have altered the relation that holds within humans. Nor do we know whether the present-day correlation would have characterized any ancient population -- or indeed most living human populations. The current value in Europeans may be an artifact of Holocene genetic changes.

The authors do not list the specific regression that they use, or its source. The correlation relates to the proportion of variance explained by the relation of brain size and intelligence is irrelevant to this prediction. What we want to know is the slope of the regression. The prediction here would require a slope of 0.14, assuming it had been derived from a population with a mean male volume of 1400 cc and an average IQ of 100. That's a higher slope than I've seen reported in any analysis of the brain size - IQ relationship.


Should I cut and paste more to act like I have a big brain? Or is this enough for ya?

Forget the Boskop nonsense. Check this out: Those sophisticated cavemen



posted on Sep, 24 2011 @ 09:17 AM
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There is a lot of evidence of other higher civilizations on earth, some going back much further than we have been taught. The short of it is, they may still be alive and well, just not living with us on earth, food for thought.



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