Re: Are we "special"?

Gerrit Hanenburg (
Tue, 03 Dec 1996 17:19:19 GMT (Paul Crowley) wrote:

>We are able to explain the evolution of a dog's sense of smell,
>or an eagle's or an owl's eyesight. We can dissect the organs,
>study them in detail and compare then with other similar species.
>We have no difficulty about outlining the probable evolution of
>the organ and its probable causes.

>OTOH, we gain little by dissecting our CNS or by making any
>other physical study; there is not much point in comparing it
>with other species;

In fact a lot has been learned about the evolution of the human CNS by
studying the CNS of other animals. For example the insight that not
all components of CNS have evolved at a similar rate.

>we have not begun to outline its probable evolution or the reasons for that evolution.

If you mean by reasons the possible selection factors that played a
role in the evolution of a complex brain then you are mistaking your
own ignorance for a lack of reasons.
Hypotheses that have been put forward to explain the evolution of a
complex brain invoke socio-ecological factors such as group
size,social (Machiavellian) intelligence,and complexity of foraging