Evolution and humans: big brain size or use (Evolution)

by David Turell @, Saturday, May 27, 2017, 23:32 (177 days ago) @ David Turell

My size first, use second of the brain, still fits what I see as evolutionary history. H sapiens arrived 200,000 years ago with a big jump of 200 cc in brain size. No evidence of new use gradually prodding the plastic brain to change. The key is recognizing the gap in size. Note the progression until now. The stone age, the bronze age, the appearance of complex language from simplistic language estimated for H. habilis and H. erectus (from The Ape That Spoke I've quoted). dhw is not taking into account the totality of the picture presented in the large-gapped human evolution. Stimulation of brain size by attempting new practices would result in tiny changes between new species. Of course a new size implies a causing mechanism. dhw can't find one. I posit God. so we are on opposite sides of his picket fence.

Look at the capacity of the brain with language: first spoken words by honinins, the modern complex language,perhaps 50,000 years ago, then symbols of alphabet (recent), then reading and writing, all of which the brain quickly accommodates as these concepts are developed. And even the development of 'click' languages of the Kalahari desert of Africa, or now the study on whistled languages:

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20170525-the-people-who-speak-in-whistles

If you are ever lucky enough to visit the foothills of the Himalayas, you may hear a remarkable duet ringing through the forest. To the untrained ear, it might sound like musicians warming up a strange instrument. In reality, the enchanting melody is the sound of two lovers talking in a secret, whistled language.

Joining just a handful of other communities, the Hmong people can speak in whistles. The sounds normally allow farmers to chat across their fields and hunters to call to each in their forest. But their language is perhaps most beautifully expressed during a now rarely-performed act of courtship, when boys wander through the nearby villages at nightfall, whistling their favourite poems between the houses. If a girl responds, the couple then start a flirty dialogue.

***
The practice not only highlights humanity’s amazing linguistic diversity; it may also help us to understand the limits of human communication. In most languages, whistles are used for little more than calling attention; they seem too simple to carry much meaning. But Meyer has now identified more than 70 groups across the world who can use whistles to express themselves with all the flexibility of normal speech.

These mysterious languages demonstrate the brain’s astonishing capacity to decode information from new signals – with insights that are causing some neuroscientists to rethink the fundamental organisation of the brain. The research may even shed light on the emergence of language itself. According to one hypothesis, our first words may have sounded something like the Hmong’s courtship songs. (my bold)

***
whistled signals could have begun as a musical protolanguage, and as they became more complex and imbued with meaning, they could have also helped coordinate hunting and foraging. After all, Meyer’s research certainly suggests that whistling is ideal for communicating over distance and avoiding the attention of predators and prey – advantages that would have helped our ancestors’ survival. Later on, we could have gained control of our vocal chords too, but the whistled languages continued to be a small but crucial element of humanity’s overall repertoire.

Comment: Recall the development of the human voice tract I've covered in the past and note my bolded sentence above. There are a complexity of changes in these human gaps in evolution which required both the humanoid and his brain to learn to use and coordinate together. To me from all I've read, size first, use second. To use a tube reminder sign, mind the gap!


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