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Our Brains are shrinking

Our brains are growing alarmingly smaller, showing evidence of devolution

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In the past it was believed that a larger brain meant more intelligence. Indeed, according to evolutionary theory, the brain should grow bigger as a species evolves.  However, rather alarmingly, research suggests that the human brain is getting smaller.

According to scientific studies, it appears that a reversal in evolution happened about 20,000 years ago. It was in 2010 when researching a skull that belonged to a Cro Magnon man, that scientists discovered the brain of our ancient ancestor was about 20% larger. This has been replicated time and again and it can now be said that the human brain has decreased from 1,500 cubic centimetres (cc) to 1,350 cc (both male and female brains) and this happened everywhere on Earth.  If we continue on this path, we will end up having the brain of Homo Erectus, an ancient human species which millions of years ago had a brain of 1,100 cc.

Scientists have no idea why our brains are shrinking but plenty of hypotheses are trying to justify why this is occurring. In all of the hypotheses, scientists are trying to support the idea that we are more intelligent than our ancestors, so they try to disconnect the size of the brain with intelligence or suggest that our brain is more sophisticated. The fact is that we have NO IDEA if the brain size is connected to intelligence at all since a) there is no accurate measurement of intelligence and b) even if there was we couldn’t measure the intelligence of ancient people.

And to clarify things, because the elephants have larger brains, this doesn’t mean that they are more intelligent, since a larger animal needs a larger brain to control the bodily functions. However, when looking at human brains, we are comparing different brain sizes of different human species with a very similar body size. A more recent study suggests that the brain can grow smaller in cases when food is scarce so that it can have minimal functionality in order to survive. But again that is not the case with us, is it?

Looking back at what our ancestors have achieved, it does not seem like them that are the primitive ones.  Civilizations of 5,000 ago built amazing monuments utilising advanced cosmological principles and great architectural wonders with apparently no technology, and today, even with cutting edge equipment, we have not accomplished anything close. How little we know about our ancestors – even though our history books like to pretend we know a lot. Everyday discoveries keep changing what we know about our past, especially in the last few years.

People today use their brain less and less – instead of memorising navigational routes we switch on our ‘sat navs’ and rather than storing phone numbers and addresses in our memory banks, we have them all to hand on our iPhones and Blackberries.  In general, it seems that technology has taken over, rendering us with less skills and less creativity.  All the ‘advancements’ of our society are based on computers. Now if you take technology out of the equation, how intelligent are we really?

I also can’t help noticing that this reversal in brain evolution is similar to the reversal in mankind’s age span. According to many ancient and mythical texts, man used to live more than 300 years but after the latest cataclysm the new generations’ life span started becoming less and less. What is it that triggered such a reduction?

Our technology is evolving rapidly, but sadly it seems that we are not.

By John Black


Cro Magnon Skull shows that our brains have shrunk

If Modern Humans Are So Smart, why Are Our Brains Shrinking?

When Food is Scarce, a Smaller Brain Will Do

Brain Size Didn't Drive Evolution, Research Suggests

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John Black

Dr John (Ioannis) Syrigos initially began writing on Ancient Origins under the pen name John Black. He is both a co-owner and co-founder of Ancient Origins.

John is a computer & electrical engineer with a PhD in Artificial Intelligence, a... Read More

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