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Skull study suggests pre-humans weren’t as bright as modern apes

Anthropologists have long assumed larger brains yielded greater cognitive functionality and superior intelligence, but the latest research findings suggest otherwise.

BROOKS HAYS: ‘New research suggests it wasn’t superior intelligence that set our earliest pre-human ancestors, like Australopithecus, apart from apes. For the study, scientists analyzed holes in the skull that allow the passage of supply arteries to the brain, calculating blood flow to the cognitive part of the brain. Researchers calibrated their estimates using humans and other mammal models, and then applied their calculations to 96 great ape skulls and 11 Australopithecus fossil skulls…

Australopithecus, the species responsible for the famed “Lucy” fossil, had a larger brain than apes. Anthropologists have long assumed larger brains yielded greater cognitive functionality and superior intelligence, but the latest findings suggest otherwise…

Through the years, apes have proven capable of impressive cognitive feats. The famous gorilla Koko learned sign language, comprehending more than 1,000 signs. Kanzi, a bonobo, learned English comprehension and syntax, and also built stone tools… The latest research suggests great apes like Koko received about twice as much blood flow as Lucy to the cerebral hemispheres.

With a brain equal to and bigger than such apes, researchers assumed Lucy and her relatives were smarter. “It is known that the large human brain looks like a scaled-up primate brain in terms of size and neuron number,” Seymour said. “However, the study shows that cerebral blood flow rate of human ancestors falls well below the data derived from modern, non-human primates”.’  SOURCE…

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