Human evolution Mind

More on the “smaller prey” theory of how human brains got so big

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Humans needed bigger brains, we are told, to hunt “smaller, swifter prey”:

This hypothesis argues that early humans specialized in taking down the largest animals, such as elephants, which would have provided ample fatty meals. When these animals’ numbers declined, humans with bigger brains, who presumably had more brainpower, were better at adapting and capturing smaller prey, which led to better survival for the brainiacs.

Stephanie Pappas, “What fueled humans’ big brains? Controversial paper proposes new hypothesis.” at LiveScience

The paper is open access.

See also: Eating fruit led to bigger brains.

Eating fat led to bigger brains.

Eating starch led to bigger brains

and

Human evolution: The war of trivial explanations

2 Replies to “More on the “smaller prey” theory of how human brains got so big

  1. 1
    polistra says:

    Even from a logical evolutionary perspective, these subtle preferences should have been knocked out of the fitness game by one BIG problem with BIG heads. BIG heads are much harder to get out at birth. Human birth is much riskier than chimp birth for both mother and child. There must be a BIG reason for larger skulls to balance out the increased mortality.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    If this just-so story got peer-reviewed and accepted for publication, then Rupyard Kipling’s just-so stories for little children should also be peer-reviewed, published, and celebrated for their profound scientific insights.

    Just So Stories
    Excerpt: Just So Stories for Little Children is a 1902 collection of origin stories by the British author Rudyard Kipling.,,,
    The Just So Stories began as bedtime stories told by Kipling to his daughter “Effie” (Josephine, Kipling’s firstborn); when the first three were published in a children’s magazine, a year before her death, Kipling explained: “in the evening there were stories meant to put Effie to sleep, and you were not allowed to alter those by one single little word. They had to be told just so; or Effie would wake up and put back the missing sentence. So at last they came to be like charms, all three of them – the whale tale, the camel tale, and the rhinoceros tale.”,,,
    Contents:
    How the Whale Got His Throat – why the larger whales eat only small prey.
    How the Camel Got His Hump – how the idle camel was punished and given a hump.
    How the Rhinoceros Got His Skin – why rhinos have folds in their skin and bad tempers.
    How the Leopard Got His Spots – why leopards have spots.
    The Elephant’s Child/How the Elephant got his Trunk – how the elephant’s trunk became long.
    The Sing-Song of Old Man Kangaroo – how the kangaroo assumed long legs and tail.
    The Beginning of the Armadillos – how a hedgehog and tortoise transformed into the first armadillos.,,,
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just_So_Stories#Approach

    You don’t have to take my word for it, Stephen Jay Gould himself honestly admitted that Darwinian explanations, for this or that feature of any particular organism, all boil down to just-so stories.

    Sociobiology: The Art of Story Telling – Stephen Jay Gould – 1978 – New Scientist
    Excerpt: Rudyard Kipling asked how the leopard got its spots, the rhino its wrinkled skin. He called his answers “Just So stories”. When evolutionists study individual adaptations, when they try to explain form and behaviour by reconstructing history and assessing current utility, they also tell just so stories – and the agent is natural selection.
    Virtuosity in invention replaces testability as the criterion for acceptance.
    https://books.google.com/books?id=tRj7EyRFVqYC&pg=PA530

    Contrary to however much Darwinists may want to believe that telling imaginary bedtime stories equates to real science, telling bedtime stories certainly does NOT equate with real science.

    To repeat my post from a few days ago, “Darwinism is not now, nor has it ever been, a real and testable science.”

    Darwinism is not now, nor has it ever been, a real and testable science.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/josh-swamidass-on-the-need-to-single-out-and-punish-creationists/#comment-725934

    In regards to real, and testable, science, and in regards to the question of how man developed his unique higher intelligence, (and contrary to the just-so story told in the OP), leading Darwinists who have studied this question for decades honestly admitted that they have no real clue how man developed his unique higher intelligence.

    In 2014, a group of leading (Darwinian) experts in the area of language research, authored a paper in which they honestly stated that they have “essentially no explanation of how and why our linguistic computations and representations evolved”, and Casey Luskin added that “It’s difficult to imagine much stronger words from a more prestigious collection of experts.”

    Leading Evolutionary Scientists Admit We Have No Evolutionary Explanation of Human Language – December 19, 2014
    Excerpt: Understanding the evolution of language requires evidence regarding origins and processes that led to change. In the last 40 years, there has been an explosion of research on this problem as well as a sense that considerable progress has been made. We argue instead that the richness of ideas is accompanied by a poverty of evidence, with essentially no explanation of how and why our linguistic computations and representations evolved.,,,
    (Marc Hauser, Charles Yang, Robert Berwick, Ian Tattersall, Michael J. Ryan, Jeffrey Watumull, Noam Chomsky and Richard C. Lewontin, “The mystery of language evolution,” Frontiers in Psychology, Vol 5:401 (May 7, 2014).)
    Casey Luskin added: “It’s difficult to imagine much stronger words from a more prestigious collection of experts.”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....92141.html

    As Ian Tattersall noted elsewhere, “Even allowing for the poor record we have of our close extinct kin, Homo sapiens appears as distinctive and unprecedented…there is certainly no evidence to support the notion that we gradually became who we inherently are over an extended period, in either the physical or the intellectual sense.”

    “A number of hominid crania are known from sites in eastern and southern Africa in the 400- to 200-thousand-year range, but none of them looks like a close antecedent of the anatomically distinctive Homo sapiens…Even allowing for the poor record we have of our close extinct kin, Homo sapiens appears as distinctive and unprecedented…there is certainly no evidence to support the notion that we gradually became who we inherently are over an extended period, in either the physical or the intellectual sense.”
    Dr. Ian Tattersall: – paleoanthropologist – emeritus curator of the American Museum of Natural History – (Masters of the Planet, 2012)

    In fact, the author’s ‘gradually evolving ‘big brain’ hypothesis’ fails in a rather dramatic fashion when compared to the scientific evidence.

    First off, Neanderthals, supposedly our dim-witted cousins, had bigger brains than us,

    “Neanderthals are known for their large cranial capacity, which at 1600cc is larger on average than modern humans.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neanderthal#Anatomy

    Secondly, human brains have progressively gotten smaller, not larger, over the last, (at least), 20,000 years

    If Modern Humans Are So Smart, Why Are Our Brains Shrinking? – January 20, 2011
    Excerpt: John Hawks is in the middle of explaining his research on human evolution when he drops a bombshell. Running down a list of changes that have occurred in our skeleton and skull since the Stone Age, the University of Wisconsin anthropologist nonchalantly adds, “And it’s also clear the brain has been shrinking.”
    “Shrinking?” I ask. “I thought it was getting larger.” The whole ascent-of-man thing.,,,
    He rattles off some dismaying numbers: Over the past 20,000 years, the average volume of the human male brain has decreased from 1,500 cubic centimeters to 1,350 cc, losing a chunk the size of a tennis ball. The female brain has shrunk by about the same proportion. “I’d call that major downsizing in an evolutionary eyeblink,” he says. “This happened in China, Europe, Africa—everywhere we look.”
    http://discovermagazine.com/20.....-shrinking

    I’d call that a rather gaping, tennis ball size, hole in the author’s ‘big brain’ hypothesis.

    Moreover, the existence of humans themselves simply makes no sense on Darwinian ‘survival of the fittest’ thinking.

    As Tom Wolfe explained, “Physically, man is a sad case. His teeth, including his incisors, which he calls eyeteeth, are baby-size and can barely penetrate the skin of a too-green apple. His claws can’t do anything but scratch him where he itches. His stringy-ligament body makes him a weakling compared to all the animals his size. Animals his size? In hand-to-paw, hand-to-claw, or hand-to-incisor combat, any animal his size would have him for lunch. Yet man owns or controls them all, every animal that exists, thanks to his superpower: speech.”

    “Speech is 95 percent plus of what lifts man above animal! Physically, man is a sad case. His teeth, including his incisors, which he calls eyeteeth, are baby-size and can barely penetrate the skin of a too-green apple. His claws can’t do anything but scratch him where he itches. His stringy-ligament body makes him a weakling compared to all the animals his size. Animals his size? In hand-to-paw, hand-to-claw, or hand-to-incisor combat, any animal his size would have him for lunch. Yet man owns or controls them all, every animal that exists, thanks to his superpower: speech.”
    —Tom Wolfe, in the introduction to his book, The Kingdom of Speech

    In other words, although humans are fairly defenseless creatures in the wild compared to other creatures, such as lions, bears, sharks, etc.., nonetheless, humans have, completely contrary to Darwinian ‘survival of the fittest’ thinking, managed to become masters of the planet, not by brute force, but simply by our unique ability to communicate information and also to, more specifically, infuse information into material substrates in order to create, i.e. intelligently design, objects that are extremely useful for our defense, basic survival in procuring food, furtherance of our knowledge, and also merely for our pleasure.

    What is more interesting still about the fact that humans have a unique ability to understand and create information, and have come to ‘master the planet’ through the ‘top-down’ infusion of immaterial information into material substrates, is the fact that, due to advances in science, both the universe and life itself, are now found to be ‘information theoretic’ in their foundational basis.

    “The most fundamental definition of reality is not matter or energy, but information–and it is the processing of information that lies at the root of all physical, biological, economic, and social phenomena.”
    Vlatko Vedral – Professor of Physics at the University of Oxford, and CQT (Centre for Quantum Technologies) at the National University of Singapore, and a Fellow of Wolfson College – a recognized leader in the field of quantum mechanics.

    It is hard to imagine a more convincing proof that we are ‘made in the image of God’, than finding that both the universe and life itself are ‘information theoretic’ in their foundational basis, and that we, of all the creatures on earth, uniquely possess an ability to understand and create information, and have come to ‘master the planet’ precisely because of our ability to infuse information into material substrates.

    Genesis 1:26
    And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

    John 1:1-4
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life, and that life was the Light of men.

    I guess a more convincing proof that we are made in the image of God could be if God Himself became a man, defeated death on a cross, and then rose from the dead to prove that He was God.

    And that proof happens to be precisely the proof that is claimed within Christianity.

    Shroud of Turin: From discovery of Photographic Negative, to 3D Information, to Quantum Hologram – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-TL4QOCiis

    The evidence for the Shroud’s authenticity keeps growing. (Timeline of facts) – November 08, 2019
    What Is the Shroud of Turin? Facts & History Everyone Should Know – Myra Adams and Russ Breault
    https://www.christianity.com/wiki/jesus-christ/what-is-the-shroud-of-turin.html

    Verse:

    John 20: 3-8
    So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed.

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