Brain-Size-Lifespan Theory

Tim Tyler tim at
Fri Jul 19 11:48:00 EST 2002

In Ian Goddard <igoddard at> wrote:


: Human brain "paid off" by long life

: A theory portraying children as start-up companies and middle-aged
: adults as their investors has been proposed to explain why humans have
: such big brains and long life spans.

: Evolutionary biologists have puzzled for decades over why humans live
: twice as long as chimpanzees and gorillas and have brains three to
: four times larger than their closest living relatives.

: "We're thinking of the brain as an investment," says economist Arthur
: Robson, at the University of Western Ontario. Robson and
: anthropologist Hillard Kaplan, at the University of New Mexico,
: believe this investment is so substantial that it requires a longer
: human life span to give it the time to pay off.

An obvious alternative theory is that long lifespans are a consequence of

Noeteny delays development.  It may well have many causes - making
young brains have a longer development period (thus allowing the
newborn brain to be more plastic) is one of them.
 |im |yler  tim at

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