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Author Topic: Were we always going to have a big brain ?  (Read 5903 times)

Offline neilep

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Were we always going to have a big brain ?
« on: 18/02/2008 20:32:53 »
Dear Brainologists and people with brains......oh...and JimBob !



See my brain ?



Nice eh ?....It's being delivered Tuesday !

I was wondering (see ?...I'm using mine).....if the dinosaurs had not been wiped off the planet then there's a pretty good chance I would not be writing this now isn't there ?.....do ewe think the dinosaurs would have evolved to enjoy a conscience like mine and yours ?..ie: would their brain have evolved like ours too ?....but obviously in a way to cope with their way of life..........or do you think our brain is the way it is because it's supposed to evolve like it has done ?....so, even if we were still 'on-the-menu'....would we have still evolved so ?

whajafink ?



« Last Edit: 18/02/2008 21:12:18 by neilep »


 

Offline Karen W.

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Re: Were we always going to have a big brain ?
« Reply #1 on: 18/02/2008 20:47:33 »
Hee hee hee...!

I think we would have evolved the way we have because of the way our brain works already.

I also think had the dinosaurs lived they would have evolved into a smarter capacity, but still staying within the bounds of their animal abilities . I think there would be a limit to how much they can evolve whereas I see the human brain as constantly evolving and learning. I do not think the human brain ever stops trying to evolve and overcome problems ie injuries etc...Therefore I think there may be a capacity for each and I believe that each generation will go farther in that capacity because the previous generation already came to a high intelligence hence enabling learned knowledge to be added to by generations to come.. providing the new generations are briefed and taught the old principles and basic roads to new information so they can run with the ball from there so to speak!
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Were we always going to have a big brain ?
« Reply #2 on: 18/02/2008 22:12:22 »
Don't kid yourselves. Castors are on the top branch of the evolutionary tree. Humans are somewhere just above lagomorphs.
 

Offline neilep

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Were we always going to have a big brain ?
« Reply #3 on: 18/02/2008 22:32:47 »
Don't kid yourselves. Castors are on the top branch of the evolutionary tree. Humans are somewhere just above lagomorphs.


He says that knowing that the most of us will have to look 'Lagomorph' up !!
 

Offline neilep

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Were we always going to have a big brain ?
« Reply #4 on: 18/02/2008 22:35:22 »
Well, I thought it was going to be an animal that frequents your attic and lags it for insulation !!

However, I was close...because lagamorph pelts can indeed be used to lag your loft !!
 

Offline Karen W.

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Were we always going to have a big brain ?
« Reply #5 on: 18/02/2008 22:38:12 »
Definitely me.... LOL LOL.. Ive never heard the term before!! LOL!
 

Offline Karen W.

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Were we always going to have a big brain ?
« Reply #6 on: 18/02/2008 22:38:35 »
heck I am still looking it up!!!
 

Offline Karen W.

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Were we always going to have a big brain ?
« Reply #7 on: 18/02/2008 22:44:06 »
Plant eating mammals with a short tail and two pairs of upper incisors, one behind the other, such as rabbits , and hares and Pikas's! LOL


I suspect that is not a compliment to us humans!
« Last Edit: 18/02/2008 22:51:14 by Karen W. »
 

Offline Karen W.

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Were we always going to have a big brain ?
« Reply #8 on: 18/02/2008 22:45:20 »
Well, I thought it was going to be an animal that frequents your attic and lags it for insulation !!

However, I was close...because lagamorph pelts can indeed be used to lag your loft !!

LOL.... Insulative values eh??? I wonder what rating they would have? Hee hee!
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Were we always going to have a big brain ?
« Reply #9 on: 18/02/2008 22:49:15 »
Plant eating mammals with a short tail and two pairs of upper incisoone behind the other,as rabits , and hares and Pikasrs! LOL


Pikasrs? Do they do weird paintings? (cubism again?  :D )
 

Offline Karen W.

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Were we always going to have a big brain ?
« Reply #10 on: 18/02/2008 22:52:48 »
LOL...sorry all corrected .. " Pikas," Boy .. I had lots of errors! LOL! ;D And I don't know what Pikas
are either! Hee hee!
« Last Edit: 20/02/2008 20:18:16 by Karen W. »
 

Offline Karen W.

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Were we always going to have a big brain ?
« Reply #11 on: 18/02/2008 22:54:06 »
I think the weird paintings are all mine... LOL But even my cubes are lacking in dimensions and perfect size! LOL
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Were we always going to have a big brain ?
« Reply #12 on: 18/02/2008 23:22:56 »
LOL...sorry all corrected .. " Pikas" boy .. I had lots of errors! LOL! ;D And I don't know what pikas
are either! Hee hee!



http://www.pikaworks.com/pikas/
 

Offline Karen W.

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Were we always going to have a big brain ?
« Reply #13 on: 18/02/2008 23:38:36 »
AWWWWWWWW they are cute!!
 

Offline JimBob

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Were we always going to have a big brain ?
« Reply #14 on: 20/02/2008 15:52:06 »
Don't kid yourselves. Castors are on the top branch of the evolutionary tree. Humans are somewhere just above lagomorphs.

Au Contraire - Neil excluded me specifically (see original question) as I am the highest life form know on earth. Beavers are to me as lagomorphs are to beavers.

 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Were we always going to have a big brain ?
« Reply #15 on: 20/02/2008 19:29:08 »
Don't kid yourselves. Castors are on the top branch of the evolutionary tree. Humans are somewhere just above lagomorphs.

Au Contraire - Neil excluded me specifically (see original question) as I am the highest life form know on earth. Beavers are to me as lagomorphs are to beavers.



Don't be silly
 

Offline JimBob

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Were we always going to have a big brain ?
« Reply #16 on: 20/02/2008 23:58:54 »
The truth hurts, I know.
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Were we always going to have a big brain ?
« Reply #17 on: 21/02/2008 08:40:08 »
The truth hurts, I know.

In your case it's delusion that hurts
 

another_someone

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Were we always going to have a big brain ?
« Reply #18 on: 01/03/2008 12:40:05 »
There was no inevitability that there was no inevitability that a primate would be the animal that would develop the skills that we have developed, or that intelligence would necessarily be stored in an organ we know as the brain (although this last one was probably predetermined once brains started to be developed in vertebrates, although the immune system may be regarded as having some memory, and possibly some intelligence, but not at a comparable level).

That issue aside, the wider question as to whether it was inevitable that intelligence (problem solving capabilities) would increase over time, I think the answer is probably yes.

Thinking about a vaguely parallel thread being discussed at http://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?topic=13110.msg158888#msg158888

Evolution is about living entities adapting to their environment, and the faster an organism can adapt to a change in its environment, the more likely it is to displace other organisms that might occupy that environment.

The traditional way in which nature has allowed an organism to adapt to an environment (to solve the problems, and benefit from the opportunities, presented to the organism by its environment) has been by genetic adaptation.  This works fine as an intergenerational solutions to environmental problems, but such a solution works best for short lived organisms that will allow rapid intergenerational (i.e. genetically inherited) solutions to problems to arise.  Even with short lived organisms, such as bacteria, there already exist intragenerational information processing capabilities, not least in the transmission of plasmids between bacteria.

For longer lived organisms, such as humans, this would be an increasingly inadequate way of solving problems of environmental adaptation, so some sort of more sophisticated intragenerational means of information processing had to arise.  It is this function that was undertaken by the brains of vertebrates.  In general, larger and longer lived vertebrates will generally (and it is a generality, with many exceptions) have larger brains; but ofcourse, the issue with humans is that our brains have become relatively larger in proportion to our body size, not merely larger with a larger body size.  This larger brain has historically allowed us to adapt faster to new environmental challenges and so to out compete other species of organisms (this is particularly the case where we are competing against other large and long lived species, where our competitors are, like ourselves, hampered by having long generational lifetimes that will not allow rapid genetic adaptation, but do not posses our own intellect - shorter lived organisms, such as bacteria, and even rodents, are better able to compete against us).

Ofcourse, we are now moving even beyond the intellectual capabilities of the human brain, as we now develop machines that can solve problems even faster than our own brains can.  In the future, we may not need large brains at all, as we could simply rely on the machines to solve our problems, just as we no longer need large muscles, as we have machines that can apply levels of physical exertion that no human could ever have achieved.  In that respect, as we are building machines that are ever more capable of outcompeting any other living organism (including ourselves), and it would be interesting to see what impact this has on other life forms in the future.
 

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Were we always going to have a big brain ?
« Reply #18 on: 01/03/2008 12:40:05 »

 

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