Re: Brain size (was Re: AAT QUESTIONS...)

18 Aug 1995 22:57:35 GMT

Lloyd Jacobs ( sez:
`pete (VINCENT@REG.TRIUMF.CA) wrote:

`: The only exceptions that immediately occur to me are other
`: primates, and elephants. As big brains seem to be so useful,
`: it's odd that they wouldn't show up more often, least in these
`: candidates.

`The short answer is: They don't have large brains because they are not
`smart and thus don't need one.

`What do you think of the possibility that the bulk of our brain is
`redundant for the purpose of durability?

It's possible, but I don't know.


`I'm starting to believe that there were pretty clever small-brained
`apes running around about 4 mya but didn't really take advantage of that
`general intelligence until they evolved with greater longevity and that
`required a larger, tougher brain. As well as for longevity, a tougher
`brain would also be useful in maintaining good function in case of
`disease, famine and trauma.

I suppose you mean `tougher' in a metaphorical sense, ie. more
resilient. ...Age is definitely a key to the development of culture.
It would be hard to retain a knowledge pool if people kept
popping off at age 25 or so. But if brain size doesn't directly
correlate to intelligence, what does determine it? Some change
in the nature of synapse development? I'm not sure that our
brains develop any differently than other mammals, they're
just bigger. And even short lived mammals show (to some extent)
a correlation between the size of specific areas of the cortex
and the degree of facility they display in the functions that
correspond to those areas. For just one example, consider the
olfactory processing regions of the canine brain.

========================================================================== <== faster % Pete Vincent % Disclaimer: all I know I
% learned from reading Usenet.