Human evolution Intelligent Design News

Bugs helped build our brains?

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Capuchin cracking palm nut with stone/E. Visalberghi

From ScienceDaily, in a study of capuchin monkeys:

“Capuchin monkeys are excellent models for examining evolution of brain size and intelligence for their small body size, they have impressively large brains,” Melin said. “Accessing hidden and well-protected insects living in tree branches and under bark is a cognitively demanding task, but provides a high-quality reward: fat and protein, which is needed to fuel big brains.”

But when it comes to using tools, not all capuchin monkey strains and lineages are created equal, and Melin’s theories may explain why.

Perhaps the most notable difference between the robust (tufted, genus Sapajus) and gracile (untufted, genus Cebus) capuchin lineages is their variation in tool use. While Cebus monkeys are known for clever food-foraging tricks, such as banging snails or fruits against branches, they can’t hold a stick to their Sapajus cousins when it comes to theinnovative use and modification of sophisticated tools.

One explanation, Melin said, is that Cebus capuchins have historically and consistently occupied tropical rainforests, whereas the Sapajus lineage spread from their origins in the Atlantic rainforest into drier, more temperate and seasonal habitat types.

“Primates who extract foods in the most seasonal environments are expected to experience the strongest selection in the ‘sensorimotor intelligence’ domain, which includes cognition related to object handling,” Melin said. “This may explain the occurrence of tool use in some capuchin lineages, but not in others.”

The authors immediately extrapolate their finding to humans, noting that

Modern humans frequently consume insects, which are seasonally important when other animal foods are limited.

This study suggests that the ingenuity required to survive on a diet of elusive insects has been a key factor in the development of uniquely human skills: It may well have been bugs that helped build our brains.

Is it true that modern humans frequently consume insects? How frequently? By preference?

A key outcome of a bigger human brain would be that humans usually found an alternative to consuming insects; capuchins didn’t.

See also: The Science Fictions series at your fingertips (human evolution)

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8 Replies to “Bugs helped build our brains?

  1. 1
    Dionisio says:

    RE: the video.
    Too bad we lost that amazing jumping ability. It would have come handy sometimes, specially when getting stuck in a nasty rush hour traffic jam 😉
    Evolution was unfair to us. It took away a bunch of nice features in exchange for a bigger brain we don’t use anyway 🙁

  2. 2
    awstar says:

    This study suggests that its authors could use a few more bugs in their diet.

  3. 3
    ppolish says:

    Monkey see, monkey do. Maybe monkeys learned from humans?

  4. 4
    Robert Byers says:

    Its not proven that our bigger brains is where our bigger intelligence comes from.
    First we are immaterial souls and thats the thinking being. Here and in the afterlife. no brains needed.
    Second lots of reasons are there for bigger heads. not evidence its the reason for bigger smarts.
    Third. it might be just bigger memory parts. I see memory as the big thing in intelligence in a material world and simply the brain might just be a big memory machine.

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    This is science? They give these people PhDs for this story telling? Excuse poor little naïve me, but perhaps when trying to explain where our ‘beyond belief’ brain came from,,,

    Human brain has more switches than all computers on Earth – November 2010
    Excerpt: They found that the brain’s complexity is beyond anything they’d imagined, almost to the point of being beyond belief, says Stephen Smith, a professor of molecular and cellular physiology and senior author of the paper describing the study: …One synapse, by itself, is more like a microprocessor–with both memory-storage and information-processing elements–than a mere on/off switch. In fact, one synapse may contain on the order of 1,000 molecular-scale switches. A single human brain has more switches than all the computers and routers and Internet connections on Earth.
    http://news.cnet.com/8301-2708.....2-247.html

    Component placement optimization in the brain – 1994
    As he comments [106], “To current limits of accuracy … the actual placement appears to be the best of all possible layouts; this constitutes strong evidence of perfect optimization.,, among about 40,000,000 alternative layout orderings, the actual ganglion placement in fact requires the least total connection length.
    http://www.jneurosci.org/conte.....8.abstract

    Perhaps when trying to explain where our ‘beyond belief’ brain came from, it would help to try to explain the origination and operation of a single neuron first?

    “Complexity Brake” Defies Evolution – August 2012
    Excerpt: “This is bad news. Consider a neuronal synapse — the presynaptic terminal has an estimated 1000 distinct proteins. Fully analyzing their possible interactions would take about 2000 years. Or consider the task of fully characterizing the visual cortex of the mouse — about 2 million neurons. Under the extreme assumption that the neurons in these systems can all interact with each other, analyzing the various combinations will take about 10 million years…, even though it is assumed that the underlying technology speeds up by an order of magnitude each year.”,,,
    Even with shortcuts like averaging, “any possible technological advance is overwhelmed by the relentless growth of interactions among all components of the system,” Koch said. “It is not feasible to understand evolved organisms by exhaustively cataloging all interactions in a comprehensive, bottom-up manner.” He described the concept of the Complexity Brake:,,,
    to read more go here:
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....62961.html

    Evolution vs. Functional Proteins – Doug Axe – Video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rgainpMXa8

    Oh that why they don’t explain the origination and operation of a single neuron first, because, due to the sheer complexity being dealt with, THEY CAN”T!

    But why do Darwinists not readily admit such a serious shortcoming in their empirical basis before they wax poetic about eating bugs producing bigger brains???

    As to bigger brains, this piece of evidence is of related interest. Where the fossil record for humans is most complete, instead of fragmentary, we find that the fossil record disconfirms the Darwinian belief that our brains are getting bigger.

    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

    Are brains shrinking to make us smarter? – February 2011
    Excerpt: Human brains have shrunk over the past 30,000 years,
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....arter.html

    Thus Darwinists, besides having no clue how a single neuron of our ‘beyond belief’ brain could have originated, also, where the fossil record is most complete, have no evidence that our brains are ‘randomly’ evolving any greater levels of ‘beyond belief’ complexity?

    But hey, I did learn one thing from their article, eating bugs ‘provides a high-quality reward: fat and protein’

    Much the same, i.e. providing nourishment, could be said for a bowl of pottage,,,
    (Genesis 25:29–34 – “pottage” – The phrase alludes to Esau’s sale of his birthright for a meal of lentil stew)

  6. 6
    humbled says:

    “If you can’t convince them, CONFUSE THEM – Harry Truman”

    What absolute tripe. Then again “nonsense in nonsense out” so I’m not surprised.

  7. 7
    kairosfocus says:

    PP: In Barbados, there are Green Monkeys (orig. African). Sometimes, fruit-stealing pests. I knew someone who tried to scare off by tossing I think it was a fallen mango. Big mistake. They picked up and picked and tossed off a dead-accurate barrage that made her run for cover. KF

  8. 8
    kairosfocus says:

    I suspect they were watching Cricket!

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