06 Feb '11, 10pm

Human brain has shrunk over past 20,000 years

The average human brain has shrunk from 1,500 cubic cm to 1,359 cubic cm - about the size of a tennis ball - over the past 20,000 years, as our brains have simply become leaner and more efficient, thanks to evolution. The measurements were taken from skulls found in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. "I'd call that major downsizing in an evolutionary eye-blink," Dr John Hawks of the University of Michigan told Discover magazine. "This happened in China, Europe, Africa - everywhere we look." University of Missouri psychology professor David Geary and his colleagues found that brain size has decreased as population density - a key measure of social complexity - increased. "As complex societies emerged, the brain became smaller because people did not have to be as smart to stay alive," said Dr Geary. The Neanderthal, a cousin of the modern human and who disappeared about 30 mi...

Full article: http://www.todayonline.com/World/Worldinbrief/EDC110207-0...

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