As Humans Evolve, Our Brains Are Actually Getting Smaller

As Humans Evolve, Our Brains Are Actually Getting Smaller

January 4, 2011 5:51 pm 2 comments

Leader

Today’s human brain is about 10 percent smaller than the Cro-Magnon brain from more than 20,000 years ago.

When it comes to brain size, bigger doesn’t always mean better. As humans continue to evolve, scientists say our brains are actually getting smaller. [...]

Cro-Magnon man, who lived in Europe 20,000 to 30,000 years ago, had the biggest brains of any human species. In comparison, today’s human brain is about 10 percent smaller. It’s a chunk of brain matter “roughly equivalent to a tennis ball in size,” McAuliffe says.

The experts aren’t sure about the implications of this evolutionary trend. Some think it might be a dumbing-down process. One cognitive scientist, David Geary, argues that as human society grows increasingly complex, individuals don’t need to be as intelligent in order to survive and reproduce.

But not all researchers are so pessimistic. Brian Hare, an anthropologist at the Duke University Institute for Brain Sciences, thinks the decrease in brain size is actually an evolutionary advantage.

NPR: Our Brains Are Shrinking. Are We Getting Dumber?

2 Comments

  • Jimmer

    Yeah, but our brain’s are more dense.

    Oh come on …low hanging fruit.

  • all our laptops are getting slower because they are getting thinner! 0_0 OH NO.

    Haaaa anyways… an interesting side note to this would be the studies on the brain structure of the ‘hobbit’ people they found a while ago. They apparently had the mental faculties we do, but with much smaller brains, save for a few key areas around the pineal gland.

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