Northern Humans Had Bigger Brains

Discussion in 'Science and Nature' started by MelT, Aug 7, 2011.

  1. Northern Humans Had Bigger Brains, to Cope With the Low Light Levels, Study Finds

    \t\t\t \t\t\t \t\t\t\tScienceDaily (Aug. 5, 2011) - The farther that human populations live from the equator, the bigger their brains, according to a new study by Oxford University. But it turns out that this is not because they are smarter, but because they need bigger vision areas in the brain to cope with the low light levels experienced at high latitudes.

    Scientists have found that people living in countries with dull, grey, cloudy skies and long winters have evolved bigger eyes and brains so they can visually process what they see, reports the journal Biology Letters.
    The researchers measured the eye socket and brain volumes of 55 skulls, dating from the 1800s, from museum collections. The skulls represented 12 different populations from across the globe. The volume of the eye sockets and brain cavities were then plotted against the latitude of the central point of each individual's country of origin. The researchers found that the size of both the brain and the eyes could be directly linked to the latitude of the country from which the individual came.
    Lead author Eiluned Pearce, from the Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology in the School of Anthropology, said: 'As you move away from the equator, there's less and less light available, so humans have had to evolve bigger and bigger eyes. Their brains also need to be bigger to deal with the extra visual input. Having bigger brains doesn't mean that higher latitude humans are smarter, it just means they need bigger brains to be able to see well where they live.'
    Co-author Professor Robin Dunbar, Director of the Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary, said: 'Humans have only lived at high latitudes in Europe and Asia for a few tens of thousands of years, yet they seem to have adapted their visual systems surprisingly rapidly to the cloudy skies, dull weather and long winters we experience at these latitudes.'
    That the explanation is the need to compensate for low light levels at high latitudes is indicated by the fact that actual visual sharpness measured under natural daylight conditions is constant across latitudes, suggesting that the visual processing system has adapted to ambient light conditions as human populations have moved across the globe.
    The study takes into account a number of potentially confounding effects, including the effect of phylogeny (the evolutionary links between different lineages of modern humans), the fact that humans living in the higher latitudes are physically bigger overall, and the possibility that eye socket volume was linked to cold weather (and the need to have more fat around the eyeball by way of insulation).
    The skulls used in the study were from the indigenous populations of England, Australia, Canary Islands, China, France, India, Kenya, Micronesia, Scandinavia, Somalia, Uganda and the United States. From measuring the brain cavity, the research suggests that the biggest brains belonged to populations who lived in Scandinavia with the smallest being Micronesians.
    This study adds weight to other research that has looked at the links between eye size and light levels. Other studies have already shown that birds with relatively bigger eyes are the first to sing at dawn in low light. The eyeball size across all primates has been found to be associated with when they choose to eat and forage -- with species with the largest eyes being those that are active at night.
  2. pretty sweet find. however, this will surly become white power ammo. oh well, it's science.
  3. i just cant see the ability to see slightly better in low light conditions to be that much of an advantage...

    then again i cant really imagine most skin heads reading anything that would provide them this information.
  4. Did they seriously use a sample size of 55 for the ENTIRE worlds population? What a joke...
  5. Why? As long as it's randomized, that's perfectly sufficient. The Central Limit Theorem only requires a sample size of 30 or 40 depending on what kind of statistical operation you plan on using the data for.

  6. The study states it covers 12 populations, but only uses 55 skulls. Each population would need to be tested independently (in accordance with the CLT), and with only 4-5 skulls each, this does not meet the requirements of the CLT population size. By only using 4-5 skulls, there's no way they were able to capture all the variation in each of the 12 populations to be able to say what they are saying without a large degree of error present (which isn't stated either).

    Study needed a lot more data to be conclusive (as you said, to support the CLT, at least 40+ for each statistical test)...and I really dont understand why they didn't, unless they found that it wasn't supportive of their hypothesis or they just didn't think out their study well enough.
  7. "the research suggests that the biggest brains belonged to populations who lived in Scandinavia with the smallest being Micronesians." Woo Hoo! I love Micronesian women though... makes perfect sense. I don't think this means too much at all though. You don't have to be smart to be happy, that's for damn sure... actually being smarter would make it easier to be unhappy.
  8. Those retards that are white supremacists, those neonazi KKK fools, they can't use it as ammo because they are dumb as shit and nobody listens to those cock fucks anyway.
  9. #10 kronman907, Aug 12, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2016
    That's what I was thinking. You would need at least 1000 to come to those conclusions

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