06 Feb '11, 2am

It's a compliment: Human brains have shrunk, according to a study - but researchers say it's a good thing

BIGGER POPULATIONS, SMALLER BRAIN SIZE Prof Geary and his colleagues used population density as a measure of social complexity, with the hypothesis that the more humans are living closer together, the greater the exchanges between group, the division of labour and the rich and varied interactions between people. They found that brain size decreased as population density increased. 'As complex societies emerged, the brain became smaller because people did not have to be as smart to stay alive,' Prof Geary told AFP. But the downsizing does not mean modern humans are dumber than their ancestors - rather, they simply developed different, more sophisticated forms of intelligence, said Brian Hare, an assistant professor of anthropology at Duke University. He noted that the same phenomenon can be observed in domestic animals compared to their wild counterparts. So while huskies m...

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