The Evolution of the Human Brain

Authored by: David D. Franks

Handbook on Evolution and Society

Print publication date:  January  2015
Online publication date:  November  2015

Print ISBN: 9781612058146
eBook ISBN: 9781315634203
Adobe ISBN: 9781317258339


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The most complex systems that we know of are the human brain and the galaxies of stars in the universe. This chapter describes general characteristics of this brain's development beginning with our first ape ancestor's ascendance from an arboreal lifestyle to a bipedal one on the ground about 6 million years ago. The discussion of the human brain moves through the first bipedal Australo pithecines and identifies the many advantages that this allowed. The many facets of tool making starting with Homo habilis are described as well as the advantages of fire and cooked meat. Following Ramachandran's work we move from the demands of arboreal life and the abstractions there of to the development of language. Factors making us a thoroughly social animal are described.

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