Neurocracy

After giving (too) much importance to brain size for more than one century, we are now focusing our attention on functions, parts, and relationships. Nonetheless, the many recent papers by Suzana Herculano-Houzel stress that size matters, indeed. More than size per se, what is definitely relevant is the number of neurons. The number of “computational units” in mammals, primates, or hominids, is incredibly correlated to many biological factors. Patterns are amazingly constant, and linear. After estimations on the number of neurons in fossil hominids, now a recent paper considers the relationships between brain size, metabolism, and foraging. The models developed by using the available information on primates strongly support the theory that the human genus could have had the possibility to increase brain size only thank to food preparation. Otherwise, we should spend all the day searching for something to eat, to maintain such a brain budget!

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