Why "Losing head" is no longer an idiom?
Why does the ignorant one pulls through?
The origin of the human brain belongs to the main mysteries of evolution and one of the most controversial topics in biological science. Why did evolution at some point in time chose to support brain development for one of the primate species? Why did the brain evolve so rapidly in such a short period? And why has homo sapiens' brains been constantly losing weight for 30,000 years?
To answer these questions, one will have to turn to the interesting metamorphoses that took place with the most favourable ancestors of mankind millions of years ago. Before the advent of Homo Sapiens, evolution took place in the traditional way. As we all know from our Anatomy and Biology school lessons The "fuel" of evolution is polymorphism, variability, variability within one species. If the external conditions of habitation did not change, the characteristics of the species remained more or less conservative, if the conditions underwent changes, then polymorphism was the only way for those creatures to survive. Adaptively of a gene turned out to be more suitable for the changed conditions and thus improved the species quality. When the variability of new genetic variations did not solve the necessity of adaptation to the new changed conditions, the population died out. Natural selection is the eternal opposition of a plurality of features and environmental pressure. The animals, who managed to find food, survive cold and procreate successfully, lived. Others became extinct.
The frontal lobe, which became the morphological basis of human intelligence, originally had the task of inhibiting animal instincts. This structure is in control of our innate and automatic self-preserving behaviour patterns, which ensure our survival and that of our species. The first of our three brain functions inherited from ancestors is what scientists call the reptilian cortex. This brain sustains the elementary activities of animal survival such as respiratory system, adequate rest and a beating heart. We are not required to consciously “think” about these activities. The reptilian cortex also houses the “startle centre”, a mechanism that facilitates swift reactions to unexpected occurrences in our surroundings. That panicked lurch you experience when a door slams shut, a looming silhouettes in darkness, weird squeaking sounds somewhere in the house, or the heightened awareness you feel when a twig cracks in a nearby bush while out on an evening stroll are all examples of the reptilian cortex at work. When it comes to our interaction with others, the reptilian brain offers up only the most basic impulses: aggression, mating, and territorial defence. There is no great difference, in this sense, between a crocodile defending its spot along the river and a turf war between two urban gangs.
Only thanks to frontal lobe work, we are able to restrain our instinctual will to grab the last piece of a cake in the plate and offer it kindly to a child. The evolved frontal lobe dictates our ability to share, to refuse food and thereby maintaining relationships within society. Now and then, we all hear stories about folks who are too concerned about losing weight try to eat as little as possible eventually developing a disease called anorexia. It is almost impossible to force a person with this disorder to eat, and modern medicine is powerless to help the matter. Interestingly, 60 years ago, when medicine was not so humane, patients with anorexia underwent a complex surgery that involved a sharp scalpel cutting off the frontal lobe in the lower part of the temporal region. After a while, these patients regained their appetite and returned to normal life. Oh, well, almost normal. Control over the animal instinct and its abuse were no longer in action and a thought of sharing food would never visit their heads again.
Another function of the frontal lobe was the support of social connections among the ancient hominids. Those who were unable to share food were either eaten/beaten or expelled. Therefore, in just a few million years, the frontal lobe of the human brain grew very quickly and eventually became the basis of mind.
Man is a genuine part of nature and for a long time the evolution (If we follow Mr Darwin’s approach) of the human brain followed the same biological patters as it did with other primates. It didn’t go very fast, and the very appearance of primates (about 65 million years ago) cannot be considered some kind of a pinnacle of evolution — it’s nothing more than the adaptation of mammals to new environmental challenges. However, those were not the changed that could trigger the substantial development of human brain. What were those unusual conditions that arose, that radically changed the nature of the evolution?
To explain the reason for these revolutionary transformations, scientists wrangle over different forms of the so-called speech-social-labour theories. Some say that since our ancestors developed the art of communication their brain took a radical change, others claim than there are many species of animals known to use sophisticated communication systems, and advanced community structures, but those have not led to the emergence of a large brain. So what happened?
Apparently, the archetype of the human brain was formed in a rather unique environment in the result of a long-lasting biological process. At some point in time, about 15 million years ago, very favourable conditions for the life of any mammals developed in eastern Africa. Then in the subtropics, in half-flooded places, in shallow flowing water bodies, some tasty and nutritious prey animals - invertebrates or fish - prospered in huge quantities. A not-less-in-its-quantity group of predators led a sate and fully satisfy life. Among the latter were our distant ancestors. To picture the ease of a hunting process we may look at Norway today. Where you can see how, during the spawning of herring, bears come on their hind legs and, standing there up to their chest, scoop up caviar with their paws and eat it until they are full. Similarly, our ancestors just had to enter the water and draw lightly with their paws in order to gorge themselves. All this led to the formation of a group of species that practically dropped out of the selection system: why change if the environmental conditions are close to perfect? However, as known, with an excess of food, animals are not interested in anything at all, except for reproduction. The abundance of food, thus, increased competition during reproduction and, as a result, became the reason for the race for dominance.
One of the consequences of this condition was development of speech, which, apparently, originated in that period. Speech could have arisen as a way of organizing joint actions, and perhaps began with simple sounds or, for example, singing, like among modern gibbons. It was possible to impress the female with real success in hunting and abundant prey, which added attractiveness to the male, increasing the chances of passing on his genome to future generations. With an art of speech, a male could just tell a female creature about it and get the same laurels of the winner in her eyes, without making any real efforts. In the biological world, the principle of any interaction is based on the following: the fewer actions and the greater the biological result. Therefore, imitation of action with the help of speech has become an invaluable quality among archaic anthropoids. Speech became a profitable product, and became a base of intense selection, as it allowed achieving a faster reproductive result. In fact, speech emerged as a form of deception, and deception was effective then and today.
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