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Frontal Lobe and Human Evolution

Human intelligence is not because of the frontal lobe as believed

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The frontal lobe is the part of the brain of humans (and mammals) that is responsible for our intelligence. Up until now it was believed that because humans have a more evolved frontal lobe compared to other mammals, that is the reason for human intelligence, behaviour, advanced thinking and other complex functions.

However, recent studies have found out that this may not be the case. Robert Barton, a professor at Durham University (Department of Anthropology) and his research team, have concluded that the frontal lobes of the brain didn’t evolve faster than their primate relatives after humans were split from the chimpanzee lineage millions of years ago.

They have found that the size of the frontal lobe of the human brain is exactly as it should be if you scale the brain of primates up to the human size. The rate of change of the frontal lobe was even lower than the rate of change of other parts of the brain. As a result, it may have been the evolution of other parts of the brain too that distinguish us from other animals, and other parts of the brain that are considered primitive may have played an important role in human evolution.

Researchers have turned their attention now to investigating other parts of the brain as well as to the networking of different areas of the brain and how they may be linked to superior human intelligence when compared to other animals.

This is an interesting piece of research that again may lead to turning what we know for human brain evolution upside down.

By John Black

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