Big brain evolution:all primate brains have same development (Evolution)

by David Turell @, Tuesday, August 04, 2020, 18:45 (79 days ago) @ David Turell

All follow the same pattern:

https://bigthink.com/surprising-science/primate-brain-size

"A recent study examined the relationship between brain size and the development of motor skills across 36 primate species.

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"The results suggest that primates follow rigid patterns in terms of which manipulative skills they learn first, and that the ultimate complexity of these skills depends on brain size.

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"This prolonged period of helplessness serves evolutionary functions, however. For one, it allows our comparatively large brains time to develop, enabling us to eventually learn complex skills, like the ability to manipulate objects with our hands. And it turns out that other primates share a similar development schedule in terms of handy abilities, called manipulative skills.

"A new study explores the progression of manipulative skills across 36 primate species. The results, published in Science Advances: Evolutionary Biology, suggest that primates tend to develop increasingly complex manipulative skills in a specific order, and that primates with more sophisticated brains develop more sophisticated skills.

"'Our results show that the neural development follows extremely rigid patterns -- even in primate species that differ greatly in other respects," Sandra Heldstab, an evolutionary biologist in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Zurich,

"For the study, the researchers observed 128 primates in 13 European zoos over seven years, recording more than 10,000 observations from the time the animals were born until they reached adult-level dexterity. The team found that smaller-brained primates, like lemurs, start learning simple motor skills at an earlier age than larger-brained primates, like chimpanzees.

"But the wait pays off for larger-brained primates: They're eventually able to perform more complex tasks with their hands, like using tools, or moving both hands simultaneously to move multiple objects.

"'It is no coincidence that we humans are so good at using our hands and using tools, our large brains made it possible," Heldstab said. "A big brain equals great dexterity."

"It seems inefficient that primates, like chimps and humans, undergo such a long period of learning and dependency. But the researchers suggest this represents a fitness tradeoff: primate parents and children spend more time on development, but it leads to complex skills that help them get more food, and survive longer. In other words, animals don't evolve to perform complex manipulative tasks unless it significantly prolongs lifespan.

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"'Our study shows once again that in the course of evolution, only mammals that live a long time and have enough time to learn were able to develop a large brain and complex fine motor skills including the ability to use tools," Heldstab said. "This makes it clear why so few species could follow our path and why humans could become the most technologically accomplished organism on this planet.'"

Comment: The final comment above is infused with Darwinist thinking. We are the only species to follow this path, and it was planned by God.


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