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Homo Naledi had sophisticated but small brain

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From Colin Barras at New Scientist:

It’s not the size of your brain, it’s how you organise it. The most recently discovered species of early human had a skull only slightly larger than a chimpanzee’s, but its brain looked surprisingly like our own – particularly in an area of the frontal lobe with links to language.

This could back suggestions that these mysterious early humans showed advanced behaviours, such as teamwork and burial, even though we still don’t know exactly when they lived. More.

Throughout the animal kingdom, the relationship between a brain and intelligence is much more complex than is sometimes supposed.

See also: Why is the recent dating of Homo Naledi to 250 kya a problem? We should avoid dogmatism, especially about stuff like brain size and smartness.

Does intelligence depend on a specific type of brain?

and

Neuroscience tried wholly embracing naturalism, but then the brain got away

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3 Replies to “Homo Naledi had sophisticated but small brain

  1. 1
    Dionisio says:

    A more direct measure of cognition would be cerebral metabolic rate, which is proportional to cerebral blood flow rate (perfusion).

    This is probably associated with increased interneuron connectivity, synaptic activity and cognitive function, which all ultimately depend on cerebral metabolic rate.

    Fossil skulls reveal that blood flow rate to the brain increased faster than brain volume during human evolution
    Roger S. Seymour, Vanya Bosiocic, Edward P. Snelling
    DOI: 10.1098/rsos.160305
    Royal Society Open Science

    Where’s the beef?

  2. 2
    Dionisio says:

    The most distinctive feature of modern Homo sapiens is the relatively large size of the brain and its high metabolic rate.

    The brain is an entirely aerobic organ that does not store glucose or much glycogen, and so relies on a constant blood supply.

    […] the scaling of brain perfusion in living mammals or primates might not represent the evolution of brain perfusion in hominins.

    [..] humans have elevated brain metabolic rate compared with other primates

    Communication pathways among neurons in the hominin brain are assumed to have undergone significant changes throughout evolution.

    Fossil skulls reveal that blood flow rate to the brain increased faster than brain volume during human evolution
    Roger S. Seymour, Vanya Bosiocic, Edward P. Snelling
    DOI: 10.1098/rsos.160305
    Royal Society Open Science

    Ok, so what?

    Where’s the beef?

  3. 3
    Mung says:

    Sophisticated. Small Brain. I’m home at last. Homung Naledi

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