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Study: Human brain not exceptional?

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human brain/ Alexandr Mitiuc, Fotolia

Every so often something exquisitely stupid turns up, something worth celebrating on that account:

From ScienceDaily:

A new scientific study puts the final nail in the coffin of a long-standing theory to explain human’s remarkable cognitive abilities: that human evolution involved the selective expansion of the brain’s prefrontal cortex.

It does so by determining that the prefrontal region of the brain which orchestrates abstract thinking, complex planning and ecision making contains the same proportion of neurons and fills the same relative volume in non-human primates as it does
in humans.

“People need to drop the idea that the human brain is exceptional,” said Vanderbilt University neuroscientist Suzana Herculano-Houzel, who directed the study. “Our brain is basically a primate brain. Because it is the largest primate brain, it does have one distinctive feature: It has the highest number of cortical neurons of any primate. Humans have 16 billion compared with 9 billion in gorillas and orangutans and six-to-seven billion in chimpanzees. It is remarkable, but it is not exceptional.”More. (public access) – Mariana Gabi, Kleber Neves, Carolinne Masseron, Pedro F. M. Ribeiro, Lissa Ventura-Antunes, Laila Torres, Bruno Mota, Jon H. Kaas, Suzana Herculano-Houzel. No relative expansion of the number of prefrontal neurons in primate and human evolution. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2016; 201610178 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1610178113

So if we could jack up the primates’ neurons they would become smart like humans?

The main thing to see is that Herculano-Houzel herself cannot possibly believe this bunk. She is forced to cough it out. This will not end well.

See also: Are apes entering the Stone Age?

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5 Replies to “Study: Human brain not exceptional?

  1. 1
    Dionisio says:

    Human brain not exceptional?

    Duh! Of course not!

    There’s nothing exceptional in biology.

    All scientists can show is just a bunch of intriguingly/surprisingly unexpected discoveries in their research.

    That’s all.


  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    as to:

    “Our brain is basically a primate brain

    Well actually, our brain is basically a bird brain 🙂

    “The intellectual capability and brain structure of ravens, crows, and jays is much more similar to humans than they are for chimpanzees, orangutans, and gorillas.”3 – Hugh Ross
    3. Johan J. Bolhuis and Clive D. L. Wynne, “Can Evolution Explain How Minds Work?” Nature 458 (April 2009): 832–33, doi:10.1038/458832a.

    As to

    “People need to drop the idea that the human brain is exceptional,”

    You would have to be brain dead to think the human brain is ‘ordinary’ 🙂

    “Complexity Brake” Defies Evolution – August 8, 2012
    Excerpt: 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.

    NIH Director: Each Neuron is Different – July 11, 2015
    Excerpt: Things are astronomically more complicated in the brain, as its “wires” are not merely a conduit of electrical charge but an incredibly complex cell called a neuron. And each neuron does not merely attach to two distant connectors, but rather to hundreds or thousands of connectors. And each connection is nothing like a simple soldering attachment. In the brain they are called synapses and with thousands of molecular-scale switches researchers compare them to microprocessors.
    But on top of all that, each neuron is different. A hundred billion different, unique neurons, each having a different, unique function. Each forming a different, unique set of synapses. We have not even begun to understand all of this neural circuitry, let alone how to design or build anything like it. And yet (Darwinists) insist it all must have arisen spontaneously, as a result of random mutations. That is not science, that is absurdity.

    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.

    “The brain is not a supercomputer in which the neurons are transistors; rather it is as if each individual neuron is itself a computer, and the brain a vast community of microscopic computers. But even this model is probably too simplistic since the neuron processes data flexibly and on disparate levels, and is therefore far superior to any digital system. If I am right, the human brain may be a trillion times more capable than we imagine, and “artificial intelligence” a grandiose misnomer.”
    Brian Ford research biologist – 2009 – The Secret Power of a Single Cell

    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.

    Data from the Salk Institute shows brain’s memory capacity is in the petabyte range, as much as entire Web – January 20, 2016
    Excerpt: “This is a real bombshell in the field of neuroscience,” says Terry Sejnowski, Salk professor and co-senior author of the paper, which was published in eLife. “We discovered the key to unlocking the design principle for how hippocampal neurons function with low energy but high computation power. Our new measurements of the brain’s memory capacity increase conservative estimates by a factor of 10 to at least a petabyte, in the same ballpark as the World Wide Web.”

    The Half-Truths of Materialist Evolution – DONALD DeMARCO – 02/06/2015
    Excerpt: but I would like to direct attention to the unsupportable notion that the human brain, to focus on a single phenomenon, could possibly have evolved by sheer chance. One of the great stumbling blocks for Darwin and other chance evolutionists is explaining how a multitude of factors simultaneously coalesce to form a unified, functioning system. The human brain could not have evolved as a result of the addition of one factor at a time. Its unity and phantasmagorical complexity defies any explanation that relies on pure chance. It would be an underestimation of the first magnitude to say that today’s neurophysiologists know more about the structure and workings of the brain than did Darwin and his associates.
    Scientists in the field of brain research now inform us that a single human brain contains more molecular-scale switches than all the computers, routers and Internet connections on the entire planet! According to Stephen Smith, a professor of molecular and cellular physiology at the Stanford University School of Medicine, the brain’s complexity is staggering, beyond anything his team of researchers had ever imagined, almost to the point of being beyond belief. In the cerebral cortex alone, each neuron has between 1,000 to 10,000 synapses that result, roughly, in a total of 125 trillion synapses, which is about how many stars fill 1,500 Milky Way galaxies!
    A single synapse may contain 1,000 molecular-scale switches. A synapse, simply stated, is the place where a nerve impulse passes from one nerve cell to another.
    Phantasmagorical as this level of unified complexity is, it places us merely at the doorway of the brain’s even deeper mind-boggling organization. Glial cells in the brain assist in neuron speed. These cells outnumber neurons 10 times over, with 860 billion cells. All of this activity is monitored by microglia cells that not only clean up damaged cells but also prune dendrites, forming part of the learning process. The cortex alone contains 100,000 miles of myelin-covered, insulated nerve fibers.
    The process of mapping the brain would indeed be time-consuming. It would entail identifying every synaptic neuron. If it took a mere second to identify each neuron, it would require four billion years to complete the project.

    The Puzzling Role Of Biophotons In The Brain – Dec. 17, 2010
    Excerpt: In recent years, a growing body of evidence shows that photons play an important role in the basic functioning of cells. Most of this evidence comes from turning the lights off and counting the number of photons that cells produce. It turns out, much to many people’s surprise, that many cells, perhaps even most, emit light as they work.
    In fact, it looks very much as if many cells use light to communicate. There’s certainly evidence that bacteria, plants and even kidney cells communicate in this way. Various groups have even shown that rats brains are literally alight thanks to the photons produced by neurons as they work.,,,
    ,,, earlier this year, one group showed that spinal neurons in rats can actually conduct light.
    ,, Rahnama and co point out that neurons contain many light sensitive molecules, such as porphyrin rings, flavinic, pyridinic rings, lipid chromophores and aromatic amino acids. In particular, mitochondria, the machines inside cells which produce energy, contain several prominent chromophores.
    The presence of light sensitive molecules makes it hard to imagine how they might not be not influenced by biophotons.,,,
    They go on to suggest that the light channelled by microtubules can help to co-ordinate activities in different parts of the brain. It’s certainly true that electrical activity in the brain is synchronised over distances that cannot be easily explained. Electrical signals travel too slowly to do this job, so something else must be at work.,,,
    (So) It’s a big jump to assume that photons do this job.

  3. 3
    Mung says:

    Every so often something exquisitely stupid turns up, something worth celebrating on that account

    When was ‘The Skeptical Zone” launched?

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    That Darwinists have no clue how the human brain, or any other brain, achieves its ‘form’ is made evident by the following experiment:

    If DNA really rules (morphology), why did THIS happen? – April 2014
    Excerpt: Researchers implanted human embryonic neuronal cells into a mouse embryo. Mouse and human neurons have distinct morphologies (shapes). Because the human neurons feature human DNA, they should be easy to identify.
    Which raises a question: Would the human neurons implanted in developing mouse brain have a mouse or a human morphology?
    Well, the answer is, the human neurons had a mouse morphology. They could be distinguished from the mouse ones only by their human genetic markers.
    If DNA really ruled, we would expect a human morphology.

    Moreover, like ‘form’, functionality is also a ‘top-down’ affair. i.e. Functionality is NOT determined by ‘bottom up’ material particulars as was envisioned in Darwinian, reductive materialism, thought:

    Epigenetics and neuroplasticity: The case of the rewired ferrets – April 3, 2014
    Excerpt: Like inventive electricians rewiring a house, scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have reconfigured newborn ferret brains so that the animals’ eyes are hooked up to brain regions where hearing normally develops.
    The surprising result is that the ferrets develop fully functioning visual pathways in the auditory portions of their brains. In other words, they see the world with brain tissue that was only thought capable of hearing sounds.

    Supplemental notes:

    DNA doesn’t even tell teeth what they should look like – April 3, 2014
    Excerpt: A friend writes to mention a mouse experiment where developing tooth buds were moved so that the incisors and the molars were switched. The tooth buds became the tooth appropriate to the switched location, not the original one, in direct contrast to what we would expect from a gene’centric view.

    Excerpt: “The same sort of question can be asked of cells, for example in the growing embryo, where literal streams of cells are flowing to their appointed places, differentiating themselves into different types as they go, and adjusting themselves to all sorts of unpredictable perturbations — even to the degree of responding appropriately when a lab technician excises a clump of them from one location in a young embryo and puts them in another, where they may proceed to adapt themselves in an entirely different and proper way to the new environment. It is hard to quibble with the immediate impression that form (which is more idea-like than thing-like) is primary, and the material particulars subsidiary.”

    “Last year I had a fair chunk of my nose removed in skin cancer surgery (Mohs). The surgeon took flesh from a nearby area to fill in the large hole he’d made. The pictures of it were scary. But in the healing process the replanted cells somehow ‘knew’ how to take a different shape appropriate for the new location so that the nose now looks remarkably natural. The doctor said he could take only half the credit because the cells somehow know how to change form for a different location (though they presumably still follow the same DNA code) . — I’m getting the feeling that we’ve been nearly as reductionist in the 20-21st century as Darwin and his peers were when they viewed cells as little blobs of jelly.”
    leodp – UD blogger

    Ask an Embryologist: Genomic Mosaicism – Jonathan Wells – February 23, 2015
    Excerpt: I now know as an embryologist,,,Tissues and cells, as they differentiate, modify their DNA to suit their needs. It’s the organism controlling the DNA, not the DNA controlling the organism.

  5. 5
    Robert Byers says:

    nEWS. Wait a minute. is this thread saying the human brain is exceptional?
    I welcome this study. it helps get rid of ideas about brain power of people bring in this section or that.
    As a christian i insist humans think with the soul/heart. no brain is important except as a memory machine.
    So we do have exactly, i think, the same brain power as primates. Or rhinos.
    Our thinking is in oir immaterial soul just as it was for jesus. Jesus brain was not exceptional. However his soul was God.
    all these lights and flashes in the brain are memory connections i’m sure.
    Important but not the source of intelligence.

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