It is obvious that the human brain has become more susceptible to knowledge over the course of time but what remains undetermined is what the cause of the evolution of the brain is. Light has been shed on many possible theories that potentially explain this morphological evolution, however, two theories seem to draw the most attention: the ecological hypothesis and the social brain hypothesis. For reasons involving food scarcity, early Homo sapiens evolved in order to keep themselves sated and survive, according to the ecological hypothesis. In order to constantly evolve in the social aspect of things, the social brain hypothesis states the evolution of larger brains is important when it comes to social organization. In this paper, the validity of these hypotheses will be discussed. Namely, how the social brain hypothesis creates a more sound argument in the justification of larger brain sizes due to the fact that Homo sapiens have evolved strategically based on the need to make intelligent social decisions in complex societies.
The ecological hypothesis asserts that due to limited food resources, humans had to expand their brain capacity in order to mentally map where food would be available to them. In a recent survey done by Jerison, he concluded that the larger the brain is, the more capable it is to retain knowledge and adapt to environmental conditions that are in constant change (Clutton-Brock & Harvey, 1980). However, the size of the brain itself is not what is most important, instead the variables correlated with the size of the brain are when statistically assessing data (Clutton-Brock & Harvey, 1980). Anthropologists completed studies using different species of primates in order to prove that brains in humans have ind...
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...that even though Homo sapiens do not roam in large groups today, group sizes back then are responsible for the enlargement of brain sizes and is what allowed individuals to retain more knowledge, and intellect today.
In conclusion, both the ecological and social brain theories have significant claims to back up their involvement in the evolution of the brain amongst Homo sapiens. Using data collected from field studies with primates, anthropologists were able to determine brain development is perceived using a variety of different factors such as brain to body weight ratio, home range, group sizes and size variation in primates of the neocortex. The social brain hypothesis is proven to be more effective when discussing brain variation amongst Homo sapiens for reasons that humans are able to adapt to new surrounding and the constant changing of social conventions.
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