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Thread: Replica of Big Skull from 28,000 Years Ago Suggests Human Brains Have Started to Shrink

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    Replica of Big Skull from 28,000 Years Ago Suggests Human Brains Have Started to Shrink

    Our brains are shrinking, according to scientists who have recreated a 28,000-year-old skull from remains found in France.

    The French team, which claims to have produced one of the best replicas yet of an early modern human’s cranium, says it is up to 20 per cent bigger than ours.

    No one is suggesting this means our ancestors were more intelligent as studies have found there is only a minor link between brain size and IQ.



    Old big head: A 3D image replica of the skull shows it was 20% larger than ours

    Instead, it is believed the skull, called Cro Magnon 1 after the caves in the Dordogne where it found, suggests our brains are becoming more efficient like shrinking computers.

    But the project could shed light on a human evolutionary question that has divided and bemused the specialists: if our heads have started to shrivel, why is this happening?

    Cro Magnon 1 has been kept in the French National Museum of Natural History in Paris since it was discovered among five ancient skeletons in 1868.

    It is thought to have been a well-built, elderly man about 6ft tall.

    Already known to scientists worldwide, Cro Magnon 1 will become even more famous next week when a mold of his skull will be shown at the American National Museum of Natural History in Washington.

    The endocast was made by scanning the interior of the skull at the Quinze-Vingts Hospital in Paris to obtain a picture of the impression left by the brain on the neurocranium.

    Antoine Balzeau, of the French Museum of Natural History, transformed this into a 3D image that was in turn made into a mold by a specialist software prototyping firm.

    ‘It’s one of the most beautiful endocasts ever,’ Mr Balzeau told The Times.

    He said that an initial assessment of Cro Magnon 1’s skull confirmed the belief that brains had grown ‘slightly smaller over tens of thousands of years’, reversing an earlier trend towards bigger brains.

    However, he said that the cerebellum — a brain structure linked to language and concentration — appears to take up a larger proportion of the head now than in the time of Cro Magnon 1.

    This suggests that some parts of the brain are more ‘compressible’ than others, he said.

    Several theories have been advanced to explain the mystery of the shrinking brain. One is that big heads were necessary to survive Upper Paleolithic life, which involved cold, outdoor activities.

    A second theory is that skulls developed to cope with a chewy diet of rabbits, reindeer, foxes and horses.

    As our food has become easier to eat, so our heads have stopped growing, according to supporters of this theory.

    Other experts say that with high infant mortality, only the toughest survived — and the toughest tended to have big heads.

    Source http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencete...ed-shrink.html

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    I think a big head would be easier to club,natural selection at work.
    you had to be fast and light on your feet, to avoid getting your brains bashed in like that big headed guy over there.

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    Overall Brain size does not directly correlate with intelligence.The amount of Gray Matter in certain areas of the brain does.Computers use to be gigantic but today they are relatively small compared to their older counterparts.
    Technology say for instance microchips,keeps getting smaller and smaller and it just goes to show you that just because something is large does not mean it is better or more smart.
    Women on average have smaller brains than men but does that mean they are less intelligent than us men are.No. In general, men have approximately 6.5 times the amount of gray matter related to general intelligence than women, and women have nearly 10 times the amount of white matter related to intelligence than men. Gray matter represents information processing centers in the brain, and white matter represents the networking of – or connections between – these processing centers.
    Men tend to excel in tasks requiring more local processing (like mathematics), while women tend to excel at integrating and assimilating information from distributed gray-matter regions in the brain, such as required for language facility.

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