Predicting hominid intelligence from brain size

Michael J. Beran, Kathleen R. Gibson and Duane M. Rumbaugh

in The Descent of Mind

Published in print March 2000 | ISBN: 9780192632593
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191670497 | DOI:
Predicting hominid intelligence from brain size

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Intelligence has been associated with brain size and organisation. Ralph Holloway and M. C. De LaCoste-Lareymondie stated that australopithecine fossils show human rather than pongid patterns of hemispheric asymmetry, suggesting a human pattern of cerebral organization early in human evolution. From this, they speculated that human-like cognitive patterns evolved early in hominid evolution and were related to selection pressures for symbolic and visuospatial integration. They suggested that brain restructuring was an important early component in hominid evolution, despite the fact that the early hominids had brains that were clearly smaller than those of modern humans. Investigations of the learning capabilities of non-human primates has pointed to the orderly progression of the evolution of brain size within the order Primates as being vitally important to cognitive capability. There is a striking increase in the size of the brain as a whole and many of its regions.

Keywords: intelligence; brain size; australopithecine fossils; hominids; evolution; brain restructuring; learning capabilities; non-human primates; cognitive capability; humans

Chapter.  4559 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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