Why did our brains shrink?

We’ve lost a lemon sized piece of brain. Here’s three hypotheses that try to explain what happened.

Hawks, John. “Selection for smaller brains in Holocene human evolution.” arXiv preprint arXiv:1102.5604 (2011).

HENNEBERG, MACIEJ. “Decrease of Human Skull Size in the Holocene.” Human Biology, vol. 60, no. 3, Wayne State University Press, 1988, pp. 395–405, http://www.jstor.org/stable/41464021.

Rougier H. & Trinkaus E., 2012. In: E. Trinkaus, S. Constantin & J. Zilhão (Eds.), Life and Death at the Peştera cu Oase: A Setting for Modern Human Emergence in Europe. New York, Oxford University Press: 257-320

DeSilva, Jeremy M., et al. “When and Why Did Human Brains Decrease in Size? A New Change-Point Analysis and Insights from Brain Evolution in Ants.” Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, vol. 9, 2021, https://doi.org/10.3389/fevo.2021.742639.

Leach, Helen M. “Human Domestication Reconsidered.” Current Anthropology, vol. 44, no. 3, 2003, pp. 349–368., https://doi.org/10.1086/368119.

Balcarcel A. M. Veitschegger K. Clauss M. and Sánchez-Villagra M. R.2021. Intensive human contact correlates with smaller brains: differential brain size reduction in cattle types. Proc. R. Soc. B.2882021081320210813 http://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2021.0813

Theofanopoulou C, Gastaldon S, O’Rourke T, Samuels BD, Martins PT,
Delogu F, et al. (2017) Self-domestication in Homo sapiens: Insights from comparative genomics. PLoS ONE 12(10): e0185306. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone….

Ampel, Benjamin C., et al. “Mental Work Requires Physical Energy: Self-Control Is Neither Exception nor Exceptional.” Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 9, 2018, https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01005.

Wrangham, Richard W. “Hypotheses for the Evolution of Reduced Reactive Aggression in the Context of Human Self-Domestication.” Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 10, 2019, https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01914.

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Disclaimer: Use my videos as a rough guide to a topic. I am not an expert, I may get things wrong. This is why I always post my sources so you can critique my work and verify things for yourselves. Of course I aim to be as accurate as possible which is why you will only find reputable sources in my videos. Secondly, information is always subject to changes as new information is uncovered by archaeologists.

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About agogo22

Director of Manchester School of Samba at http://www.sambaman.org.uk
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2 Responses to Why did our brains shrink?

  1. I wonder how they know that the brain has decreased in size. There is a layer of fat around the brain that protects it from bruising. Maybe that was thicker before. Maybe the modern brains do not need so much “padding” anymore, because they are not generally shaken so much anymore. I mean aggression is now more from afar with weapons, not so much pounding man on man or man on beast. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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