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////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// The Evolution of the Human Brain: Knowledge Explosion How Does It Account for the

The evolution of the human !rain is a point of much de!ate among evolutionar" !iologists# $aleoneurolog"% which studies the evolution of the human !rain% seems to !e caught on the horns of a dilemma# In evolutionar" !iolog"% there is the thought that the human !rain attained it&s current si'e roughl" ())%))) "ears ago: *The evolution of a large% complex !rain has !een the defining feature of the human lineage + although human !rain si'e has not changed over the past ())%))) "ears#* ,http://www#newscientist#com/article#ns id-dn./.0 1# This poses a huge 2uestion: if the incredi!l" complex human !rain has !een around for that long% wh" has the great advancement of human 3nowledge onl" ta3en place within the last couple of thousand "ears% leading to the great 3nowledge explosion we have seen in recent histor" Human 3nowledge !uilds upon itself4 wh" didn&t the 3nowledge explosion ta3e place 5)%))) or 6))%))) "ears ago% if the human !rain has !een roughl" the same si'e during this time 7ere human !eings ,homo sapien1 out there *!eating around the !ush%* hunting !ugs and rodents% for all those thousands and thousands of "ears% even though the" were wal3ing around with an incredi!l" complex !rain This apparent pro!lem has indeed pu''led the great thin3ers of our time# A recent approach has !een to la!el the evolution of the human !rain a *8pecial Event#* The normal pace of evolution was somehow set aside% and the human !rain evolved much more rapidl" than normal# 9rom a recent stud":

*:enes that control the si'e and complexit" of the !rain have undergone much more rapid evolution in humans than in non; human primates or other mammals% according to a new stud" !" Howard Hughes <edical Institute researchers#* *The accelerated evolution of these genes in the human lineage was apparentl" driven !" strong selection# In the ancestors of humans% having !igger and more complex !rains appears to have carried a particularl" large advantage% much more so than for other mammals# These traits allowed individuals with =!etter !rains> to leave !ehind more descendants# As a result% genetic mutations that produced !igger and more complex !rains spread in the population ver" 2uic3l"# This led ultimatel" to a dramatic =speeding up> of evolution in genes controlling !rain si'e and complexit"#* =$eople in man" fields% including evolutionar" !iolog"% anthropolog" and sociolog"% have long de!ated whether the evolution of the human !rain was a special event%> said senior author Bruce ?ahn of the Howard Hughes <edical Institute at the @niversit" of Ahicago# =I !elieve that our stud" settles this 2uestion !" showing that it was#> ?ahn and his colleagues reported their data in a research article pu!lished in the Decem!er (/% ())0% issue of the Bournal Aell #* ,ta3en from an article on the Howard Hughes <edical Institute we!site% http://www#hhmi#org/news/lahnC#html 1 This presents a recurring pro!lem for the Darwinian theor" of evolution# Evolutionar" theor" is !uilt upon the premise that evolution occurs graduall"% over hundreds of thousands of "ears of time# 7henever data occurs that doesn&t fit the theor"% the theor" of ver" gradual change through natural selection is set aside% and a new theor" of rapid change is introduced# This is how the Darwinian theor" of evolution *a!sor!s* evidence that contradicts the theor"# However% once "ou allow various exceptions to the theor" of evolution% "ou no longer have the

foundation upon which the theor" is !uilt% and the theor" needs to !e set aside# Then the search for new scientific theories% !etter aligned to the facts% can !egin# The idea of *punctuated e2uili!rium* is another example of changing the theor" of evolution to account for rapid change# Because there is a lac3 of evidence in the fossil record of ver" gradual change from one species to another% the idea of *punctuated e2uili!rium* has !een introduced% which sa"s that there have !een sudden spurts and dramatic changes caused !" mutations in various species# Again% gradual change is set aside% in favor of a theor" of rapid change# Aoncerning the evolution of the human !rain% there is a contradictor" school of thought in $aleoneurolog"% that the evolution of the human !rain has actuall" slowed down over the past couple of million "ears: 8cienceDail" ,Dec# (/% ())D1 E *Despite the explosive growth in si'e and complexit" of the human !rain% the pace of evolutionar" change among the thousands of genes expressed in !rain tissue has actuall" slowed since the split% millions of "ears ago% !etween human and chimpan'ee% an international research team reports in the Decem!er (D% ())D% issue of the Bournal% $?F8 Biolog"#* *7e found that genes expressed in the human !rain have in fact slowed down in their evolution% contrar" to some earlier reports%* sa"s stud" author Ahung;I 7u% professor of ecolog" and evolution at the @niversit" of Ahicago# *The more complex the !rain% it seems% the more difficult it !ecomes for !rain genes to change####* The article goes on to report% *:enes that are expressed onl" in the !rain evolved more slowl" than those that are expressed in the !rain as well as other tissues% and those genes evolved more slowl" than genes expressed throughout the rest of the organism#*

*The authors attri!ute the slowdown to mounting complexit" of interactions within the !rain# *7e 3now that proteins with more interacting partners evolve more slowl"%* 7u said# *<utations that disrupt existing interactions aren&t tolerated#* This article also ac3nowledges the pro!lem presented !" the apparent *rapid evolution* of the human !rain: *Humans have an exceptionall" !ig !rain relative to their !od" si'e# Although humans weigh a!out () percent more than chimpan'ees% our closest relative% the human !rain weighs (G) percent more# How such a massive morphological change occurred over a relativel" short evolutionar" time has long pu''led !iologists#* ,@niversit" of Ahicago <edical Aenter ,())D% Decem!er (/1# Aomplexit" Aonstrains Evolution Ff Human Brain :enes# 8cienceDail"# Hetrieved Ianuar" 6G% ())5% from http://www#sciencedail"#com/releases/())D/6(/)D6((D)/G0(6#h tm Has the evolution of the human !rain rapidl" increased% or has it slowed down over the past couple of million "ears 8cientists differ radicall" in their conclusions# There are other unanswered 2uestions that can onl" !e mentioned here: How can scientists *prove%* in an" scientific sense of the term% the pace of genetic evolution within the human !rain% going !ac3 G)%))) or 6))%))) "ears Are there an" repeata!le scientific experiments which can conclusivel" *prove* how fast the human !rain evolved G)%))) or 5)%))) or 6))%))) "ears ago Fr are we dealing with great amounts of speculation in this area The even more difficult dilemma for evolutionar" theor" is to explain wh" the explosion in human 3nowledge has onl" ta3en place within ver" recent histor"% using the evolutionar" time scale# Human 3nowledge accumulates over time ; that 3nowledge !uilds

upon itself and increases% to where we have the explosion in 3nowledge that is so evident toda"# How did it happen 7h" did it happen so suddenl" Two or three thousand "ears% as compared to ())%))) "ears% is a ver" short amount of time# Jet it is claimed that the human !rain has remained the same si'e for the past ())%))) "ears# ,some scientists ma" sa" it has !een the same si'e for the past 6G)%))) "ears% !ut the o!vious point still remains1# Human 3nowledge is transmitted through language% and then through writing# This transmission of 3nowledge is a 3e" in the accumulation and development of human 3nowledge# 8ome evolutionar" researchers have estimated that human speech developed around 6G)%))) "ears ago: *$hillip ?ie!erman has investigated the origin of speech for man" "ears and has used this research to form h"potheses a!out the evolution of language# ?ie!erman suggests that speech improved greatl" a!out 6G)%))) "ears ago when the lar"nx descended into the throat# According to the wor3 of ?ie!erman and his colleagues% this descension improved the a!ilit" of earl" homonids to ma3e 3e" vowel sounds# 7hereas the Keanderthals had a vocal tract similar in man" respects to that of a new !orn !a!"% the elongated phar"nx of a modern adult human is thought to ena!le production of a more percepti!le repertoire of speech sounds# ?ie!erman suggests that though Keanderthals pro!a!l" had some form of language% the" ma" have failed to extend this language !ecause the" lac3ed the ph"sical apparatus for producing a more sophisticated set of speech sounds#* ,9rom *The Evolution of ?anguage%* at http://www#!rainconnection#com/topics/ main-fa/evolution; languageD 1# This estimate that human speech !egan to develop 6G)%))) "ears ago ma3es the pro!lem even more o!vious: How could homo sapiens ,man1 have developed speech that long ago% having an incredi!l" complex computer called the human !rain%

and "et not have made great advances in language% writing% and the transmission of 3nowledge It is estimated% !ased on archological discoveries% that writing developed around C%G)) B#A# in <esopotamia ,see *Ancient <esopotamia: The Invention of 7riting* / Friental Institute of the @niversit" of Ahicago% at http://oi#uchicago#edu/FI/<@8/ED/THA/<E8F/writing#html1# This ma3es for a huge% huge gap !etween the development of speech% and the development of writing# 9or humans to have 600%))) plus "ears of speech% without developing writing% seems totall" incredi!le# The human mind is much more clever than that# How could people !e a!le to spea3 for that long% ,or even half that long1 without attempting to communicate through written s"m!ols In fact% no matter which wa" these estimates and theories are developed% there are huge pro!lems# The idea that man evolved ver" graduall"% over hundreds of thousands of "ears of time% is full of pro!lems and contradictions# If one ta3es the position that the human !rain has slowed down in it&s evolution since separating from the chimpan'ee over a million "ears ago% then we have an incredi!le computer which is incredi!l" silent over hundreds and thousands of "ears of time# If one ta3es the position that the evolution of the !rain was a *8pecial Event* in which the normal pace of evolution was some how miraculousl" sped up% then "ou have a!andoned the Darwinian theor" of ver" gradual evolution through natural selection% and "ou have introduced a new theor"% of rapid change# 7e need to thin3 seriousl" a!out how long 6G)%))) "ears is% and how incredi!le the human !rain is: with this great computer having the a!ilit" to reason% to thin3% to spea3 and communicate with other human !eings% wouldn&t 3nowledge have advanced much more rapidl" 6G)%))) "ears is a long% long% long time for

man&s 3nowledge to !e flat;lined% until the graduall" increasing curve of human 3nowledge in recent human histor"# This 3nowledge curve is now accelerating at a greater and greater rate# The fact that the human !rain does not fit in to the timescale of evolutionar" theor" is perhaps wh" scientists have felt compelled to theori'e that the evolution of the human !rain was a *8pecial Event%* in which the evolutionar" progress of the human !rain was somehow dramaticall" increased# As 2uoted earlier% *Although humans weigh a!out () percent more than chimpan'ees% our closest relative% the human !rain weighs (G) percent more# How such a massive morphological change occurred over a relativel" short evolutionar" time has long pu''led !iologists#* http://www#sciencedail"#com/releases/())D/6(/)D6((D)/G0(6#h tm 8ome scientists ma" theori'e that language and speech developed more recentl"% in order to attempt to explain the lac3 of development in human 3nowledge until onl" relativel" recentl"# But that wouldn&t solve the pro!lem% !ecause the !asic issue still would remain: how could homo sapiens have !rains roughl" the same si'e as our own for the past ())%))) "ears% and have onl" developed speech and language 2uite recentl" The human !rain is an incredi!l" complex piece of machiner"# Even 6G)%))) "ears is a long time to sit out in the !ush% having thoughts in an incredi!l" complex !rain which is more advanced than an" of our computers% "et having no language with which to express them# 7ere we in silent mode all that time I thin3 not# 6G)%))) "ears is a long% long time for a computer to do !asicall" nothing# $erhaps it&s time to leave the sacred soil of evolution% and explore new options# Is it possi!le that the reason the 3nowledge explosion has onl" happened graduall" within the last couple of thousand "ears% with greater and greater acceleration in recent time% is that human !eings haven&t !een around that

long% relativel" spea3ing A more recent appearance of man would explain the *massive morphological change that has long pu''led !iologists%* the great difference in !rain si'e !etween humans and chimpan'ees# A more recent appearance of man would also explain wh" the rapid advancement in 3nowledge has onl" occurred relativel" recentl"# 9or man&s incredi!le computer% the human !rain% to !e silent for hundreds of thousands of "ears is Bust not ma3ing sense# Is it possi!le that man is the product of some 3ind of creative design% introduced onto planet earth Hather than an automatic stonewalling !" much of the academic communit"% wh" not consider the possi!ilit" that there ma" !e higher intelligence in the universe than ourselves Fne could even ma3e great advancements in the pursuit of honest" and truthfulness% and rather than engage in endless amounts of scientific speculation a!out what happened 6))%))) or G))%))) or 6%)))%))) "ears ago% we could simpl" admit that% scientificall" spea3ing% we Bust don&t 3now for certain what happened that long ago# 8ome of the scientific communit" needs to recover the clear distinction !etween proven scientific facts ,proven !" repeata!le scientific experimentation1% and vast amounts of speculation# In light of the 3nowledge explosion% and our 3nowledge of the human !rain% the theor" that human3ind evolved from the apes graduall" over hundreds of thousands of "ears of time is Bust not fitting in with the facts# !" <ar3 Eric3son //////////////////