Sunday, July 27, 2008

Primates Evolve Large Brain Size Twice

I found a very interesting article. It is about some primates in South America which began evolving larger brains. It made me think of the late Stephen Jay Gould's view that evolution is radically contingent. Perhaps its not so after all. I mean, if Homo Erectus had gone extinct before our lineage evolved from it, perhaps 10 million years later another group of apes (or any other creature, for all we know) may have evolved our level of consciousness.


peasant dreams said...

Could intellegence in primates be caused by their hypoascorbia? Not only is the genetic inability to synthesize chemicals often accompanied by long lifespans (time to develop intellegence) (possibly because Vitamin C is quite reactive, sythesizing it within an organism might be detrimental), but because it breaksdown endorphins fast. A quick change in endorphin levels (moods?) in non primates might make them less capible of staying mentally focused on a task.

AIGBusted said...

Peasant Dreams,

I don't think that is a good explanation, although it is an intelligent and thought out one. See, the gene responsible for manufacturing Vitamin C was "broken" millions and millions of years ago, before primates had evolved:

On the other hand, asians are allegedly more sensitive to citric acid than Europeans or Africans, and since Citric acid is often found in vitamin C containing things like lemons and oranges, they may consume less Vitamin C. If you buy into sterotypes, your theory may have some weight.

I have nothing more to say.