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Thread: Climate Change & Brains

  1. #1 Climate Change & Brains 
    Time Lord zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    Little article here on how human brain size relates to climate change. Fluctuations in weather makes us smarter over time apparently. Obviously then, the current climate change isn’t the only time in history where humans have had to endure it. To think climate change actually benefitted* our species came as a surprised to me. I figure it must have been adapt or die and do it quickly. Success has allowed our brain to increase its size. Could climate changes have wiped wipe out other hominids less inclined to adapt? Maybe I should pay more attention to the weather forecasters.

    https://humanorigins.si.edu/human-ch...ristics/brains

    I do find it hard to believe that climate is the main reason for brain enlargement but it seems to suggest that the more we think our way around survival, it’s going to increase brain size down the road.

    *Can’t say the same for the poor women giving birth. Have their bodies evolved to accommodate the larger head/brain as fast as our brains?


    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    Little article here on how human brain size relates to climate change. Fluctuations in weather makes us smarter over time apparently. Obviously then, the current climate change isn’t the only time in history where humans have had to endure it. To think climate change actually benefitted* our species came as a surprised to me. I figure it must have been adapt or die and do it quickly. Success has allowed our brain to increase its size. Could climate changes have wiped wipe out other hominids less inclined to adapt? Maybe I should pay more attention to the weather forecasters.

    https://humanorigins.si.edu/human-ch...ristics/brains

    I do find it hard to believe that climate is the main reason for brain enlargement but it seems to suggest that the more we think our way around survival, it’s going to increase brain size down the road.

    *Can’t say the same for the poor women giving birth. Have their bodies evolved to accommodate the larger head/brain as fast as our brains?
    It seems likely that increasing intelligence in human ancestors allowed them to recognize that events in the environment played a role in their survival, or demise. Your suggestion about "adapt or die and do it quickly" could be implicated in evolving intelligence.

    Consider the weather. Rain had been known to these creatures for a long time, and extensive rain might have caused flooding that killed some of them. Sooner or later they should have recognized the threat posed by rain, and taken the appropriate actions (e.g. move away from rivers). This would certainly be a case of "learning", and it would seem that such learning experiences would play a major role in the evolution of intelligence.

    Thanks for the interesting article.


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    Time Lord zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    I guess climate change isn’t all bad for us as long as we keep on adapting to it. Makes me wonder though. Article covered last 200-800 thousand years. Surely the climate has changed several times throughout Earth’s history. So does the fossil record of prehistoric animals in the last 500 million years show brain size increases periodically or were some climate changes too much to overcome for most? Thinking those little furry ancestors of mine that ran the risk of becoming dinosaur toe jam were able to withstand whatever climate threw at them and did quick adaption increase their brain sizes?

    I made suggestion toward C Section birth in OP. Here’s one article of many that claims larger brains/heads are driving evolution also.

    https://www.vox.com/science-and-heal...tion-evolution

    Imagine….evolution of our brain, our intelligence and even a human female’s body all connected to climate change. I wouldn’t have thought it but it appears to be a huge topic of conversation within scientific community.
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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  5. #4  
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    Unless we are talking rapid onset climate change

    https://www.irishcentral.com/news/ir...ami-russian-tv

    Fuck you Putin and your stiemates.
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    So does the fossil record of prehistoric animals in the last 500 million years show brain size increases periodically or were some climate changes too much to overcome for most?
    Am guessing that instincts evolved vastly more frequently than did intelligence. This is because instincts require much fewer changes in the brain to generate the appropriate behavior for a given situation. Instincts do not require thought processes (requiring larger brains) about what to do - they just kick in, usually rapidly, and are mostly involved in immediate aspects of survival - "predator/prey" being tops on the list.

    As one thinks about all the creatures who have lived over the last 500 million years, increasing brain size relating to development of intelligence for any reason were rare events. Look at all the species today. How many have developed large brain sizes and higher intelligence? A mere handful at most. Yet all of them are descendants from the many forms which evolved over those millions of years of life on Earth. As mentioned in a previous post, the octopi and humans are two of the most obvious examples, and perhaps whales and dolphins. You simply don't see many other examples in all those species regardless of the time-frame. In fact, small brain size tends to dominate by a long shot. This is likely due simply to the success of instincts over the thought processes associated with intelligence.

    So while other primates like chimps have enhanced intelligence also, the major trend in evolution does not appear to go in this direction. From elephants to mice, it seems brain size evolved for what was adequate to that species. The overwhelmingly vast majority of animals function almost exclusively on instinct, not by developing higher thought processes upon which to decide behavior.
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    @geordief
    I really feels the climate changes rapidly…
    Thesummer is getting hotter and hotter. Even in winter day, I saw some guyswearing just a shirt…The cold days is getting less and less.
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