Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Wednesday, November 28, 2018, 18:15 (18 days ago) @ dhw

Dhw: This article makes me wonder if the current individual evolution of the brain does not mirror its historical evolution. Leaving aside the great divide between dualism and materialism, we have concepts requiring expression and the brain developing as the range of concepts expands. Currently these concepts are learned, but each one originally had to be invented. The implementation of each invention historically would have required new neurons and new connections, and now individually the learning does the same. Similarly, the embryo itself starts out as a throwback to our animal ancestry and then “evolves” into our current human form. (In passing, this can also be seen as a clear pointer to common descent.)

DAVID: The brain is designed to provide these necessary areas to take over the jobs required by language: speech, writing, reading, typing, etc. The chimp does none of this, but has comparative areas they never put use, because they cannot. Our brain advances are not explained by chance evolution. We are obviously designed.

dhw: My post has nothing to do with chance versus design. I am pointing out the parallel between the development of the current individual brain and the historical development of the brain from pre-sapiens to sapiens. In each case the implementation of new concepts is what changes the structure. This can actually be observed today, and there is no reason to suppose that the same process did not take place in pre-humans.

DAVID: What can a new concept to act upon or do if the newly needed structure is not in place? Cart before horse.

dhw: It is implementation of concepts new to the individual that creates new neurons and new connections as the person learns. I thought you had accepted this, as it was clearly illustrated by the examples of the Indian women, taxi drivers, musicians. We do not know where the original concepts come from, but I am not trying to restart the discussion on materialism versus dualism, and should not have opened the door to that particular subject. My apologies. I am simply wondering (pure conjecture) whether the “evolution” of the individual’s brain as it adds and complexifies through childhood and into adulthood mirrors the evolution of the brain through history, with its additions and complexifications – just as the “evolution” of the individual embryo appears to relive (that might be a better term) at least part of the history of human evolution. It’s just a thought that struck me. Maybe the idea is too fanciful?

You've jumped to minor plasticity in newly literate Indian women using a very complex brain they were given and plastically changed a little. Speech requires the complexity of the human brain starting 300,000 years ago. The eventually completed complex brain takes until 25 years old and may in part (I agree with you) mimic evolution of it.


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