Can Temperature Impact Our Brain Evolution?

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The study team had combined the measurements of body and brain size for over 300 fossils from the genus Homo found across the globe to further reconstruct them. It was found that

‘Temperature changes have strongly contributed to the fluctuations in the average body size of humans over the last million years. The colder, harsher climates contributed to the evolution of larger body sizes, while warmer climates led to smaller bodies with little impact on brain size.’

Evolution of Brain

“There is an indirect environmental influence on brain size in more stable and open areas: the amount of nutrients gained from the environment had to be sufficient to allow for the maintenance and growth of our large and particularly energy-demanding brains,” says Professor Andrea Manica, a researcher in the University of Cambridge’s Department of Zoology who led the study.

The study also found that non-environmental factors complex social lives, more diverse diets, and more sophisticated technology were more important for driving larger brains than climate. The brain changes are expected to continue evolving as adaptation to different temperatures.

“It’s fun to speculate about what will happen to body and brain sizes in the future, but we should be careful not to extrapolate too much based on the last million years because so many factors can change,” said Manica.

Source: Medindia

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