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Post  Post subject: Cooking versus brain capacity correlation?  |  Posted: Wed Dec 11, 2013 12:23 am
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Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2011 5:55 am
Posts: 978
Location: Denver, Colorado

I'm wondering what you all think of this theory. The idea is that the enabling factor for a rapid increase in human brain capacity is cooking. I like the logical step by step presentation here, but am questioning whether her timeline quite fits the facts.

Suzana Herculano-Houzel: What is so special about the human brain?

Post  Post subject: Re: Cooking versus brain capacity correlation?  |  Posted: Wed Dec 11, 2013 7:49 am
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Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2011 8:35 pm
Posts: 4878
Location: Cardiff, Wales

as far as i'm aware it more or less fits - Homo erectus is the first hominid that was long-legged, could travel better, could hunt in a more efficient way, but also was the first to master the use of fire, all probably starting around 2 million years ago, give or take a few 100,000

although presumably at the time the increase in calory uptake was not nearly as high as what we need for our brain, more meat, fat and marrow in our diet would have been the start, and the extra calories from cooking would have increased the availability for the brain to grow further

which brings me to another question : why did Homo floresiensis have a small brain whilst at the same time exhibiting fairly modern behavioural characteristics ? islands tend to often restrict large animals to smaller sizes, hence presumably the small body size + brain size, but how could they remain smart at the same time ?

"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
"Someone is WRONG on the internet" (xkcd)

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