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Human/primate evolution: Eating fruit led to bigger brains?

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From Sarah Knapton at Telegraph:

Scientists have discovered a link between the amount of fruit eaten by primates and the size of their brains.

The researchers suggest that the bigger brains probably evolved to recall fruit locations, and work out new ways to extract flesh from tough skins. Fruits also contain for more energy than plants, giving brains a boost.

“Fruit is patchier in space and time in the environment, and the consumption of it often involves extraction from difficult-to-reach-places or protective skins,” said doctoral student Alex DeCasien, the lead author.

“Together, these factors may lead to the need for relatively greater cognitive complexity and flexibility in fruit eating species.

“Complex foraging strategies, social structures, and cognitive abilities, are likely to have co-evolved throughout primate evolution.” More.

Now we only need to figure out why vast numbers of other fruit eaters did not develop bigger brains.

The Nature Ecology and Evolution paper is free for download.

See also a variety of other theories:

Climate change made us smart

Retroviruses play a role in development of human brain?

Tooth size not linked to brain size in early humans

Large human brain size easily explained?

Repurposed mammal bone gene fuels cognition in humans?

Human origins: The war of trivial explanations

The Science Fictions series at your fingertips: Human evolution

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Hat tip: Pos-Darwinista

6 Replies to “Human/primate evolution: Eating fruit led to bigger brains?

  1. 1
    mahuna says:

    Can’t we git these guys some slack? They need the grant money, and one more stupid theory isn’t gonna hurt anybody.

    If ya wanna get published, ya gotta come up with a new thing. Clearly monkeys are smarter than wombats because the monkeys survive entirely on bananas.

  2. 2
    Dionisio says:

    Fruits also contain for more energy than plants […]

    English is not my first language, but I don’t recall seeing this grammatical structure:
    “contain for

    Can somebody explain and provide examples?

    Thanks.

  3. 3
    Dionisio says:

    Humans have bigger brains but do stupid things that many animals with smaller brains won’t do. So where is the correlation?

  4. 4
    News says:

    Dionisio at 2: It is evidence of lack of proofreading at the BBC. Shd be “far.”

  5. 5
    Dionisio says:

    News,
    Yes, that makes sense. Thank you.

    Hmm… maybe I should apply for a bathroom+office cleaning job at The Telegraph? Thus I could have access to their articles on their desktops screens shortly before they get published and could teach those Britons how to write in their own language, just by asking questions every time I don’t understand what it’s written on their desktop screens? Oh, no, I better don’t do anything that could raise suspicions that I work for WikiLeaks or foreign spies! 🙂

    However, in this particular case it’s possible that for many of the people working in that place English is not their first language?

    As I mentioned here in UD before, in a very interesting peer-reviewed biology research paper about post-translational modi?cations (PTMs) the conclusions were about post-transcriptional modifications (also PTMs?).

    And one of the peer-reviewers was from Yale University and some authors (at least one) from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. That’s not just a misspelling error. That’s a gross conceptual mistake that went undetected.

    You have written a number of warning articles about this situation, but it seems like not many out there are paying attention?

    Did we really get that deep into this worldly mud we’re in? Is that true that no one cares about the contextual meaning of words anymore?

    Oh well, that’s the sad reality of this world we’re in.

  6. 6
    rvb8 says:

    It’s an idea, a hypothesis, a theorised answer to the question, Could fruit eating aid in the evolution of brains? The researchers conclude, ‘possibly.’

    That’s what they do, they also teach, work on real experiments in real laboratories, and generally push human understanding forward.

    Mockery from the cheap seats is what ID does.

    So the scientists have their realm, and ID has its realm.

    Really Dionisio? You couldn’t work out from the context of the sentence that the typo ‘for’, was actually ‘far’?

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