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Claim (sort of) that carb-heavy diet fueled Neanderthal brain growth


Joining the queue of theories about how the human brain (the most significant force in the natural universe) came to exist:

New research examining bacteria collected from Neanderthal teeth suggests that our hominid cousins’ diets were heavy on roots, nuts and other starchy, carbohydrate-rich foods at least 100,000 years ago, reports Ann Gibbons for Science. Shifting to eating high-calorie starches as a dietary staple may have been essential for fueling the evolution of our large human brains, and this study pushes back the earliest evidence of that shift.

“We think we’re seeing evidence of a really ancient behavior that might have been part of encephalization—or the growth of the human brain,” says Christina Warinner, an anthropologist at Harvard University and co-author of the research, in a statement. “It’s evidence of a new food source that early humans were able to tap into in the form of roots, starchy vegetables, and seeds.”

Alex Fox, “Neanderthals Ate Carb-Heavy Diets, Potentially Fueling Brain Growth” at Smithsonian Magazine

Okay, so nuts did it. The thing is, fat, meat, and starch have all been blamed for the big human brain. When do we get round to spices and salt? They’ve been unjustly neglected.

See also: Eating fat, not meat, led to bigger human type brains, say researchers.

Earlier discussion of the fat theory.

Starchy food may have aided human brain development

Do big brains matter to human intelligence?

Human evolution: The war of trivial explanations


What great physicists have said about immateriality and consciousness

Lamarck must be laughing his head off right now . . . -Q Querius
I'd better get started on salt, then. Probably something to do with the aquatic ape. Bob O'H
I halfway recalled something about spices and brain size. Googled, and sure enough, it's there! https://www.jstor.org/stable/27820880 polistra

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