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  • Modern humans shorter and smaller brain size

    Scientist record decrease in human brain size | Space, Military and Medicine | News.com.au

    Very interesting article adding to the body of knowledge.

  • #2
    Originally posted by sroelofs View Post
    That's heavy duty.

    Before I opened the link, I was thinking a good comment would be "must be all those 'healthy grains' " and the article starts out with-

    Modern humans smaller, shorter
    Brains have shrunk by 10 per cent
    Change linked to start of agriculture

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    • #3
      It takes strength, agility, and a big brain to make tools and weapons out of sinew and sharp rocks, to track and hunt prey, and to find edible plants amongst the blooming, buzzing confusion of wild nature.

      It doesn't take strength, agility, or a big brain to plant seeds or harvest grain.

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      • #4
        Very interesting article. However, I am sure more research and additional findings will be needed to support that theory. There will likely be many rebuttals. I would love to believe this is the case though.

        Big agriculture will fight this for sure since they do not want anyone to believe that they made us smaller and dumber. I am sure some of their "paleontologists" will find other humain remains that show the exact opposite very soon.

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        • #5
          Where is the proof a smaller brain is a disadvantage? Engineers at Intel or AMD would just call the modern brain a "die shrink". Shorter spaces between neurons, quicker reaction times between thoughts and perhaps more complex thoughts. Maybe brains with better "wiring" don't need to be as large. Example: Women have smaller brains than men yet they are every bit as smart... and some might argue quite a bit smarter:-)

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          • #6
            Ive met some football players with some big ass heads and they were dumber than a box of rocks. Surely that would mean they have a big brain as well wouldnt it? I have no idea but I do know they would be lucky to be able to count to 10.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Chuck_S View Post
              Where is the proof a smaller brain is a disadvantage? Engineers at Intel or AMD would just call the modern brain a "die shrink". Shorter spaces between neurons, quicker reaction times between thoughts and perhaps more complex thoughts. Maybe brains with better "wiring" don't need to be as large. Example: Women have smaller brains than men yet they are every bit as smart... and some might argue quite a bit smarter:-)
              or given the lack of overall progress in human society it is more likely to be atrophy
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              • #8
                Originally posted by quelsen View Post
                or given the lack of overall progress in human society it is more likely to be atrophy
                Lack of progress in human society? I can't read it in your post but that has got to be ironic.

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                • #9
                  I wish it were,. We have made advances this i will not dispute. however pro capite we have made far less advances in the last 100 years than the previous 100.
                  Less people are contibuting to the knowledge base.

                  At some level you expect stagnation, how many improvements or paradigm shifts can you expect in housing, however we are still using essentially the same transportation methods for the last 500 years. We are using 2000 year old political structures. We have not performed any significant extraterrestrial exploration in the last 40 years.

                  I stand by my statement Humankind is stagnant.
                  We here in this forum are "DISCOVERING" what our ancestors already knew as to diet. this is not new information.

                  Are advancements made, YES. but how many people are actually doing them. Edison Tesla Marconi and a few others all arrived at thier hypothesis of electricity and radiowaves independantly at the same time, Yet only ( yes i am watering it down ) Bill Gates and Steve Jobs thought about the personal computer )

                  the last 100 years have been about applying existing knowldege yet i do not see much in the way of true pure innovation and that i feel is mostly becasue we dont have a need. Why think if you can just live on the dole <shrug> ( raises hand ) guilty as charged,

                  perhaps only the select few ever moved mankind forward, but that select few seems to be dwindling.
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                  • #10
                    You've obviously never read about quantum physics.. About less pure innovation, I think this has more to do with there being a fixed number of "good ideas" and we are moving closer to discovering them all.
                    Discovering "the same thing at the same time" not being doable today is because of globalization and the speed with which information travels rather than about people being dumber.
                    More people are educated today and I can guarantee you that there are way more people working on ANYTHING still relevant today than on the same thing 100 years ago. You just don't hear about them because they don't get credit for it or they just don't attract the media.

                    Myeah I think your theory is silly and based on a false idealistic view of how the world was like 100 years ago and some kind of biased negativism towards modern society (ooh things were WAY better in the old days, now everything sucks) for whatever reason.

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                    • #11
                      not better , just i think we are slackers. but i have unrealistic expectation of myself why not of others too
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                      • #12
                        Northern woodlands Indians and Northern Plains Indians have been recorded to have averaged 6 ' 3" when they were first 'met' by the Europeans, who averaged 5'5".

                        I can't blame their decreased average height since then to agriculture alone though because they were initially agriculturists. Populations were so great that there was insufficient game for them to rely only on hunting. The populations did not decrease until after they failed to live through the diseases they encountered with contact with Europeans.

                        Not all indigenous Americans were tall. Not all hunter-gatherers today are tall. Actually few are. The Masai are tall tribal people but they are herders---does that count for being agriculturists?

                        ***********************************
                        Brains and intelligence. More to it than size. Voltaire reportedly had one of the highest IQs and also one of the smallest brains.

                        ***********************************
                        Men and women have 'different' brains. Neither one is superior, they are just different. One has more grey matter and the other more white matter. This does not effect intelligence. It does say that men and women tend to analyze things differently. Both achieve great results. Both can't understand the reasoning of the other.

                        George and Gracie. Dagwood and Blondie. My Friend Irma. Mad About You. Tool Time . Archie and Edith. According to Jim

                        Add to the list and fill the page. The 'different' reasoning has been the basis of so many stories and jokes.
                        Tayatha om bekandze

                        Bekandze maha bekandze

                        Randza samu gate soha

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by periquin View Post
                          The Masai are tall tribal people but they are herders.
                          The same goes for the Nuer. These are the people Leni Riefenstahl ended up photographing, because she thought they were so beautiful.

                          However, the Mongols were herders and not, I think, particularly tall—though not short and certainly well-built.

                          But height isn't everything. Some of the WAPF people, such as Sally Fallon, comment occasionally that modern people are perhaps rather taller than they "should" be but not well-built enough or with thick enough bones. Price himself, of course, was deeply interested in "dental deformities" as well as rotted teeth. If you don't get enough minerals and "fat-soluble activators" in your diet growing up (and, probably, actually in your mother's diet even before conception) it will have an impact on how broad and spacious your face will be. When this doesn't happen the face is thinned, and you get crowded teeth—because there's not enough room for them. The same may well be true of the body in general. In Nutrition and Physical Degeneration Price shows photos of fragments American Indian skulls from pre-contact and post-contact communities. The former skull bones are actually thicker.

                          Here's someone at the WAPF commenting on men's health and bodybuilding, quoting someone called Vince Gironda:

                          He presented research data that strongly indicted refined carbohydrates as the real culprit in much of the century’s degenerative disease. His articles went into surprising detail on the biochemical pathways through which sugar did its damage, pointing out the relation between sugar and atherosclerosis, abnormal increases in height and weight and skeletal anomalies.
                          Splendid Specimens: The History of Nutrition in Bodybuilding

                          This sounds interesting and, I think, plausible. I've never read up on Pottenger's cats, but I do know that when he fed them a diet unsuitable for cats (i.e., a cooked one), the cats got elongated—longer but thinner.

                          I should think one needs adequate protein to achieve a decent height—and that actually probably isn't very much, protein but in the past many people didn't even get that. However, for optimum growth you're going to need a good supply of all the necessary micronutrients, including minerals and vitamins A and D. You probably need not to get too much carbohydrate, too—specially not too much refined carbohydrate.

                          It's not really relevant where you get those nutrients from—so long as you get them. It could be from hunted game or herded animals; but it might also be, at least in part, from some combination of gathered food, fishing, or arable farming—so long as the combination doesn't lean too much towards the plant kingdom. So, yes, herders can be tall; so can others.

                          Interestingly, Weston Price noted that the Nuer ("The women are often six feet or over, and the men seven feet, some of them reaching seven and a half feet in height") and the Dinka were both physically well-developed and both had more or less complete immunity to dental caries. However, their diets were rather different, the Nuer living mostly on blood and milk and meat, while as for the Dinka

                          This tribe lives on the Nile. Its members are not as tall as the Neurs [sic]. They are physically better proportioned and have greater strength. They use fish from the Nile and cereals for their diet.
                          "Cereals", of course, covers a multitude, and what even Price himself back in those days probably wouldn't have known is that Africans traditionally ferment cereals like millet for days to de-activate anti-nutrients (while, also, presumably extracting B vitamins and suchlike) and then sieve the bran out and throw it away. (So much for the Dr. Burkitt's beliefs about high-fibre Africans).

                          Fish, as with the Dinka, is a good nutritional option, but one should probably eat the organs, eggs, head, and eyes, which Europeans and Americans wouldn't generally do.

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                          • #14
                            Lots of ad hoc hypothesizing to protect beliefs and ego. Let's review the facts...

                            A) Cranial capacity has decreased 10% since the upper Paleolithic.

                            B) In humans the correlation between cranial capacity and intelligence is around .4.

                            Therefore C) -- intelligence has decreased. Let's estimate it at around 4 IQ points (100 - (10% x 0.4 x 100)).

                            A review of the homo genus shows a 2 million year trend of increasing meat consumption, increasing cranial capacity, and increasing intelligence. Then suddenly 10K years ago meat consumption decreases, cranial capacity decreases, and we must assume intelligence decreases. There is absolutely no reason to assume otherwise, other than human vanity.

                            -------------------------------------
                            Here is a chart of the last 3M years.
                            Fun with Hominin Cranial Capacity Datasets (and Excel), Part 2 - The Panda's Thumb

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                            • #15
                              Wut?

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