Brain expansion: pure Darwinian explanations (Evolution)

by David Turell @, Monday, March 01, 2021, 19:27 (238 days ago) @ David Turell

This article is a wonderful baseless explanation in Darwin-speak:

"A new paper by Dr. Miki Ben-Dor and Prof. Ran Barkai from the Jacob M. Alkow Department of Archaeology at Tel Aviv University proposes an original unifying explanation for the physiological, behavioral and cultural evolution of the human species, from its first appearance about two million years ago, to the agricultural revolution (around 10,000 BCE). According to the paper, humans developed as hunters of large animals, causing their ultimate extinction. As they adapted to hunting small, swift prey animals, humans developed higher cognitive abilities, evidenced by the most obvious evolutionary change—the growth of brain volume from 650cc to 1,500cc. To date, no unifying explanation has been proposed for the major phenomena in human prehistory. (my bold)

"In recent years more and more evidence has been accumulated to the effect that humans were a major factor in the extinction of large animals, and consequently had to adapt to hunting smaller game, first in Africa and later in all other parts of the world. In Africa, 2.6 million years ago, when humans first emerged, the average size of land mammals was close to 500kg. Just before the advent of agriculture this figure had decreased by over 90%—down to several tens of kilograms.

"According to the researchers, the decrease in the size of game and the need to hunt small, swift animals forced humans to display cunning and boldness—an evolutionary process that demanded increased volume of the human brain and later led to the development of language enabling the exchange of information about where prey could be found. The theory claims that all means served one end: body energy conservation.


"'We correlate the increase in human brain volume with the need to become smarter hunters," explains Dr. Ben-Dor. For example, the need to hunt dozens of gazelles instead of one elephant generated prolonged evolutionary pressure on the brain functions of humans, who were now using up much more energy in both movement and thought processes. Hunting small animals, that are constantly threatened by predators and therefore very quick to take flight, requires a physiology adapted to the chase as well as more sophisticated hunting tools. Cognitive activity also rises as fast tracking requires fast decision-making, based on phenomenal acquaintance with the animals' behavior—information that needs to be stored in a larger memory."


"Prof. Barkai notes, "While the chimpanzee's brain, for example, has remained stable for 7 million years, the human brain grew threefold, reaching its greatest size about 300,000 years ago. In addition to brain volume, evolutionary pressure caused humans to use language, fire and sophisticated tools such as bow and arrow, adapt their arms and shoulders to the tasks of throwing and hurling and their bodies to the prolonged chase, improve their stone tools, domesticate dogs and ultimately also domesticate the game itself and turn to agriculture.'"

Comment: Note my last bold. There is no explanation why the sapiens brain arrived 315,000 years ago. Note the gap in time: mammoths among others went extinct 20,000 years ago. Totally disconnected Darwin-think. dhw will love it, despite its topsy-turvy mish-mash of thought. Obviously the article reviewers were all Darwinist

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