Re: Technology and Intelligence

Ralph L Holloway (rlh2@COLUMBIA.EDU)
Wed, 8 Feb 1995 23:27:29 -0500

I think that the apparent gap between stone tool technological
sophistication and brain size, or the lack of correlation is no more
puzzling than the lack of a correlation between human brain size at 1000
AD and 2000 AD, or between the technology of 25,000BC and 1800 AD. This
doesn't mean that technology isn't (or wasn't) important in human
adaptation), or that brain size is totally unimportant. It's just that
they don't necessarily link together, and that maybe, for the purposes of
living in almost any ecological niche that modern humans inhabit, it's
some combination of brain power and sociality that gets them through,
and differences of 200-400 cc don't matter in terms of technological and
social adaptivity (?).
On Thu, 9 Feb 1995, Dave Rindos wrote:

> On Wed, 8 Feb 1995, Ralph L Holloway wrote:
> > I'm sure Dwight Read will answer on his own, but let me jump in. The
> And me too...
> > chimp average brain size is about 400 cc, perhaps a little less, and the
> > gracile australos about 450. The robusts, except for WT 17000 (wich is
> > around 410 cc) are all around 520-53O cc.
> > But I still think that tool-making is but one aspect of social
> > behavior. The tripling in brain size requires at least two components to
> > be integrated: body size, i.e., allometric relationships, and secondly
> > brain expansion without concomitant body size increase. Very difficult to
> > know exactly how much is the former and the latter.
> And then on top of that is the *worst* problem of all.... there seems to
> be no real correlation between the archaeological record and the increase
> in brain size. This I find MOST frustrating, annoying, and provocative.
> Are there any GOOD differences in the toolkit of late erectus and early
> sapiens? What about 'archaic' and modern sap? And worstest of all,
> perhaps, any good physical differences between early moderns and the
> moderns who appear to have done nifty things like art, agriculture and the
> like....
> Dave,
> with a most appropriate .sig
> --
> Dave Rindos
> 20 Herdsmans Parade Wembley WA 6014 AUSTRALIA
> Ph:+61 9 387 6281 (GMT+8) FAX:+61 9 387 1415 (USEST+13)
> [you may also reach me on]
> Rabbits exist, hence we may speak meaningfully to the evolution of
> the rabbit. Some people attempt to study the evolution of
> human intelligence. We may well have a real problem here.