Alex Duncan (
9 Nov 1995 14:59:09 GMT

In article <> H. M. Hubey, writes:

>There are "house-keeping functions" that the
>brain has to perform. Bigger mass implies more
>muscle/flesh and more inputs to the brain and more
>of the brain has to be involved in instant to instant
>tasks. The brain of humans is not a scaled up version
>of a chimp brain. Different parts of it have gotten
>bigger at a higher rate. See Eccles.

Whoa -- changing the definition again. First you provide us with a
definition of complexity based on the number of neurons: "The number of
brain states of a human being (possible on-off states of all neurons is
10^(10^8) or 10^10000000." Now you tell us that isn't really a good
definition of complexity, and we must be mindful of what the brain is
actually doing (as if it matters to the neurons). Was your original
definition in error?

Do you suppose the ENTIRE whale brain is devoted to housekeeping duties?
Do you know exactly how the "housekeeping" portions of the brain scale
against body size compared to the other portions? Do you suppose there
might be differences in the amount of "housekeeping" required in aquatic
vs. terrestrial mammals? Do you have a good reason for suggesting that
composing a symphony (non-housekeeping function) rates higher on the
complexity scale than regulating metabolism (housekeeping function)? You
don't have answers to these questions. The truth is that no one knows
how much of a whale's brain is dedicated to running its body, and how
much is left over for more intellectual pursuits. I suspect that given
our current state of knowledge, the definition of cerebral complexity you
initially provided is the best thing going. Unfortunately, it means
we're not the most complex beings on the planet.

Alex Duncan
Dept. of Anthropology
University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX 78712-1086