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Author Topic:   Evolution of Human Brain
Tangle
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Posts: 6182
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
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Message 1 of 7 (659067)
04-12-2012 10:39 AM


Can anybody point me at some good, not too technical, references for current thinking about this?

Life, don't talk to me about life - Marvin the Paranoid Android

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 Message 2 by Wounded King, posted 04-12-2012 11:49 AM Tangle has responded
 Message 4 by dwise1, posted 04-12-2012 3:22 PM Tangle has acknowledged this reply
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Wounded King
Member (Idle past 2019 days)
Posts: 4149
From: Edinburgh, Scotland
Joined: 04-09-2003


Message 2 of 7 (659083)
04-12-2012 11:49 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Tangle
04-12-2012 10:39 AM


Are you more interested in this from a genetic/developmental or paleontological angle?

TTFN,

WK


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Tangle
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Posts: 6182
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 2.0


Message 3 of 7 (659085)
04-12-2012 11:53 AM
Reply to: Message 2 by Wounded King
04-12-2012 11:49 AM


I think the genetic angles would be too techie for me unless it's been popularised. Mostly I'm interested in what we know about brain changes from earlier hominids and theories about how and why they came about.

Life, don't talk to me about life - Marvin the Paranoid Android

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dwise1
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Posts: 3179
Joined: 05-02-2006
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(1)
Message 4 of 7 (659122)
04-12-2012 3:22 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Tangle
04-12-2012 10:39 AM


There was a story on NPR's Morning Edition a couple weeks ago concerning the underlying grid structure of the brain and how it could explain the evolution of the brain. That story might provide you with some references to research further:

Morning Edition: How Your Brain Is Like Manhattan

You can read the transcript/synopsis and listen the audio of the story. The story is based on an article in Science and it mentions a five-year study by NIH, the Human Connectome Project, an effort to map out the neural pathways of the human brain.

Two other Morning Edition reports, from 20 May 2011 and 09 Aug 2010 respectively, are:
Mammals Smelled Their Way To Bigger Brains

From Primitive Parts, A Highly Evolved Human Brain

In line with that second story is Carl Sagan's book, The Dragons of Eden (1986) in which he described the human brain as being a reptilian brain (the limbic system with basic drives, including "fight or flight" response) topped by a mammalian brain (the cortex with more expanded emotions and nuturing behaviors and greater ability to learn) topped by a human brain (the neo-cortex with rational thought), with each part still handling the tasks and functionality of those of our ancestors.

As I said, just a few leads to help you get started.


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Meddle
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Posts: 165
From: Scotland
Joined: 05-08-2006


(1)
Message 5 of 7 (659139)
04-12-2012 6:51 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Tangle
04-12-2012 10:39 AM


The BBC did an excellent documentary called "The Origins of Us" last year. Here is part three which discusses brain development specifically, but the other two parts are also very much worth watching it is interesting to see how they all interrelate.
Admittedly I missed this on the telly and only found it after hooah212002 posted about it
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hooah212002
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Posts: 3183
Joined: 08-12-2009


Message 6 of 7 (659160)
04-13-2012 1:16 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by Meddle
04-12-2012 6:51 PM


I've had those bookmarked/downloaded for the longest time and I haven't been able to get around to actually watch them. I really should because I have heard lots of good reviews.

"Science is interesting, and if you don't agree you can fuck off." -Dawkins

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caffeine
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Posts: 1504
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008
Member Rating: 2.4


Message 7 of 7 (659162)
04-13-2012 3:36 AM
Reply to: Message 4 by dwise1
04-12-2012 3:22 PM


In line with that second story is Carl Sagan's book, The Dragons of Eden (1986) in which he described the human brain as being a reptilian brain (the limbic system with basic drives, including "fight or flight" response) topped by a mammalian brain (the cortex with more expanded emotions and nuturing behaviors and greater ability to learn) topped by a human brain (the neo-cortex with rational thought), with each part still handling the tasks and functionality of those of our ancestors.

I've never really liked this way of looking at things, because it seems to imply that reptiles have a much simpler brain than mammals; which doesn't seem to be borne out by evidence from behaviour. Reptiles also engage in complex behaviour, problem-solving and nurturing of young. Without knowing anything about neurology, my suspicions are that it's a model based on an outdated understanding of reptillian cognition.


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