The Human Advantage: A New Understanding of How Our Brain Became Remarkable

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Second, our increased intelligence is not derived from the size of our brains — both elephants and whales have larger ones — but from the substantially increased number of neurons in the cerebellum and cerebral cortex. It had to start earing its keep. Fortunately, the controlled use of fire had already developed to provide warmth and to keep animals away from our encampment at night. We probably owe it to a woman — since they were the ones who stayed in the encampment, bearing and nurturing the young, as well as cutting and preparing the food — to see what happened if one took the chopped food and cooked it before serving it.

Presto; we were saved! We could supply adequate energy to keep our more powerful information processors going, and begin the upward ascent towards dominance over other species and mastery of the world in general that has been our trajectory ever since. Now we certainly want to congratulate and thank that woman for her experiment! The next conundrum in our evolutionary history would become: what should we think about?

Volume 60 , Issue 1. The full text of this article hosted at iucr. If you do not receive an email within 10 minutes, your email address may not be registered, and you may need to create a new Wiley Online Library account. If the address matches an existing account you will receive an email with instructions to retrieve your username.

  1. What Really Made Humans Smart?;
  2. The Human Advantage: A New Understanding of How Our Brain Became Remarkable.
  3. Dr Matt Reed;
  4. Ten Thousand Birds: Ornithology since Darwin.
  5. Our brains are "remarkable," but "not exceptional.".

Our results underscore that correlations between cognitive performance and absolute neocortical neuron numbers across animal orders or classes are of limited value, and attempts to quantify the mental capacity of a dolphin for cross-species comparisons are bound to be controversial. The lack of good evidence about long-finned pilot whale intelligence mainly implies we ought to be uncertain.

The Human Advantage: PDF

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Our brains are "remarkable," but "not exceptional."

Many blame today's economic inequality, stagnation, and political instability on the free market. The solution is to rein in the market, right? Radical Markets turns this thinking - and pretty much all conventional thinking about markets, both for and against - on its head. The book reveals bold new ways to organize markets for the good of everyone.

The fruit of the long history of John Brockman's profound engagement with the most important scientific minds who have been thinking about AI - from Alison Gopnik and David Deutsch to Frank Wilczek and Stephen Wolfram - Possible Minds is an ideal introduction to the landscape of crucial issues AI presents. The collision between opposing perspectives is salutary and exhilarating; some of these figures are deeply concerned with the threat of AI, including the existential one, while others have a very different view.

Why do we do the things we do? More than a decade in the making, this game-changing book is Robert Sapolsky's genre-shattering attempt to answer that question as fully as perhaps only he could, looking at it from every angle. Sapolsky's storytelling concept is delightful, but it also has a powerful intrinsic logic: He starts by looking at the factors that bear on a person's reaction in the precise moment a behavior occurs and then hops back in time from there in stages, ultimately ending up at the deep history of our species and its evolutionary legacy.


Lin-Manuel Miranda's groundbreaking musical, Hamilton , is as revolutionary as its subject: the poor kid from the Caribbean who fought the British, defended the Constitution, and helped to found the United States. Humans are awesome. Our brains are gigantic, seven times larger than they should be for the size of our bodies.

The human brain uses 25 percent of all the energy the body requires each day.

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  • And it became enormous in a very short amount of time in evolution, allowing us to leave our cousins, the great apes, behind. So the human brain is special, right? Wrong, according to Suzana Herculano-Houzel.

    New Book - The human advantage : a new understanding of how our brain became remarkable

    Humans have developed cognitive abilities that outstrip those of all other animals but not because we are evolutionary outliers. The human brain was not singled out to become amazing in its own exclusive way, and it never stopped being a primate brain. If we are not an exception to the rules of evolution, then what is the source of the human advantage? Herculano-Houzel shows that it is not the size of our brain that matters but the fact that we have more neurons in the cerebral cortex than any other animal, thanks to our ancestors' invention, some 1. Because we are primates, ingesting more calories in less time made possible the rapid acquisition of a huge number of neurons in the still fairly small cerebral cortex - the part of the brain responsible for finding patterns, reasoning, developing technology, and passing it on through culture.

    Herculano-Houzel shows us how she came to these conclusions - making "brain soup" to determine the number of neurons in the brain, for example, and bringing animal brains in a suitcase through customs. The Human Advantage is an engaging and original look at how we became remarkable without ever being special.

    In this book she gives an accounting of how she answered the question, "What is so special about us? This is one of those popular science books that made feel that I was along for the ride solving one of humanity's great questions. There is plenty of scientific history and breakdowns given to help the listener understand the different studies that went into her conclusions.

    Dina Pearlman is the perfect narrator, clear, and landing the jokes like she wrote them. I found this book fascinating in all sorts of ways but it needs an executive summary.

    Download The Human Advantage A New Understanding of How Our Brain Became Remarkable MIT Press

    Read the following and ask yourself what the author was thinking. Just put up with this because you can train youself to go intermitently catotonic and make sense out of it all. And very well worth it. Eventually I began to look forward to these epileptic fits as comic relief. In all seriousness I could not help but think this stuff verges on Nobel Prize territory. I learned a lot of interesting things listening to this book.