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Thread: Has brain size decreased since upper paleolithic? page

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    KimchiNinja's Avatar
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    Has brain size decreased since upper paleolithic?

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    Stumbled across this old analysis -- changes in cranial capacity thru time in the homo genus. There's a steady increase in cranial capacity for 2M years, peaking with Neanderthal, and then what appears to be a decrease since the Neolithic (around -10%).

    The author theorizes it is from decreased meat consumption; the large game of the Upper Paleolithic became scarce (extinctions), and the focus turned to grain farming.

    It's actually hard to imagine how this could not be the case? Increases in brain size and intelligence (more advanced tools) correlate with increased meat consumption for over 2M years. Then brain size peaks in the Neanderthal (who were eating a 5000 calorie a day meat-based diet). Then suddenly the diet of the genus shifts to grains as staple foods. How does the body maintain this expensive brain without the building blocks it previously had available? Thoughts?

    You can download in PDF, which is easier to read: Persée

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    Bump, this is the ultimate weapon against vegans who think the human race should go veggie.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KimchiNinja View Post
    Bump, this is the ultimate weapon against vegans who think the human race should go veggie.
    Why interrupt silly vegan conjecture with facts! Your going to cost us the one vegan troll we got! Go easy. Its like they say in "Rounders"....you can shear a sheep many times, but you can only skin him once

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    Quote Originally Posted by Neckhammer View Post
    Why interrupt silly vegan conjecture with facts! Your going to cost us the one vegan troll we got!
    Sorry vegan troll!

    Oh, Boyd Eaton also discusses it...

    -----------------------------------

    "While human cranial capacity tripled over the 2.5 million years after H. habilis first appeared, this trend has recently reversed. Since peaking among Cro Magnons and other humans living during the Late Paleolithic, cranial capacity has fallen off about 11%. (Ruff, 1997) This diminution has paralleled a decrease in consumption of animal foods and, consequently, a diminished dietary intake of preformed long chain PUFA, the building blocks necessary for formation of brain tissue.

    These PUFA can be synthesized by humans from their 18 carbon precursors, LA and ALA, but the process appears too slow to supply the amounts of AA, DTA and DHA needed for optimal brain growth during fetal development and infancy. (Woods, 1996; Salem, 1996) DHA deficiency is especially important, first because its concentration in brain tissue exceeds those of AA and DTA and second, because our current w-6 excess tends to promote formation of long chain w-6 AA and DTA while inhibiting synthesis of w-3 DHA.

    Association is not necessarily causation, but the fluctuations which have occurred in brain size over evolutionary time, both increases and decreases, correlate well with dietary intake of the preformed long chain PUFA necessary for formation of brain tissue so it is tempting to speculate on a causal relationship."

    Evolution, Diet and Health

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    Quote Originally Posted by KimchiNinja View Post
    Stumbled across this old analysis -- changes in cranial capacity thru time in the homo genus. There's a steady increase in cranial capacity for 2M years, peaking with Neanderthal, and then what appears to be a decrease since the Neolithic (around -10%).

    The author theorizes it is from decreased meat consumption; the large game of the Upper Paleolithic became scarce (extinctions), and the focus turned to grain farming.

    It's actually hard to imagine how this could not be the case? Increases in brain size and intelligence (more advanced tools) correlate with increased meat consumption for over 2M years. Then brain size peaks in the Neanderthal (who were eating a 5000 calorie a day meat-based diet). Then suddenly the diet of the genus shifts to grains as staple foods. How does the body maintain this expensive brain without the building blocks it previously had available? Thoughts?

    You can download in PDF, which is easier to read: Persée
    real man eat meat lots of meat. Real man brain runs on sugar and cholesterol but real man think a predator eat meat cause real man have brain not use it. Real man not use brain cause reaL man full of shit

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    Quote Originally Posted by KimchiNinja View Post
    Bump, this is the ultimate weapon against vegans who think the human race should go veggie.
    Agriculture started about 10,00 years ago for the real men that think meat makes them bigger and badder. Maybe you need to go out and shoot some squirrels or something to bring out that manliness you are seeking but can't find.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pharmageddon View Post
    Agriculture started about 10,00 years ago for the real men that think meat makes them bigger and badder. Maybe you need to go out and shoot some squirrels or something to bring out that manliness you are seeking but can't find.
    Oh crap, all this time I've been acting manly when all I want to do is be girly

    Sent from my HTC_PN071 using Marks Daily Apple Forum mobile app

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    Quote Originally Posted by pharmageddon View Post
    Agriculture started about 10,00 years ago for the real men that think meat makes them bigger and badder. Maybe you need to go out and shoot some squirrels or something to bring out that manliness you are seeking but can't find.
    Well, son of a gun. Our troll actually knows a fact. And yet he still thinks his vegan diet is natural. I wonder how much his and his fellow vegan's brains have shrunk?

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    And let's not forget the decreasing bone robustness. There's a place in, I think, Kentucky where anthropologists have disnterred two distinct cultures. The older one was non-agricultural. Large craniums, robust bones, no dental caries. Then came corn....... Smaller craniums, thinner bones, cavities.

    Hmmmmm....... Dots connected!

    And if my readings can be applied generally, the corn eating natives usually had terribly worn down teeth later in life. They used relatively soft stones to make their corn grinders and so people were chewing stone when they consumed the corn. All around bad stuff.

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    Yes, Kleiber's law. Now, how exactly did you find a causation from this I'll never know. Meat eating was a consequence, not a foundation--or a cause of increased brain mass. As for your whole grain and agricultural revolution scare, it did not arrive in Australia or other places until almost contemporary times, yet, somehow, brain size has been decreasing at the same rate there too.

    Encephalization quotient - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Homo sapiens, despite smaller stature, and brain mass, have always been shown to be far more advanced than the more primitive ancestors. You have much learn.

    As an aside, domesticated dogs have smaller brain size than wolves, yet are arguably much more intelligent. It seems likely that the decrease in brain size seems to correlate with domestication given that it's happened in an evolutionary blink for human beings and many domesticated animals. Also, obviously there is no shortage of meat and energy in the western diet lol, yet your hypothesis goes against the current trend.
    Last edited by Derpamix; 01-05-2014 at 09:24 AM.
    Time is passing so quickly. Right now, I feel like complaining to Einstein. Whether time is slow or fast depends on perception. Relativity theory is so romantic. And so sad.

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