“Humane Hominid” writes at the Discerning Brute:
… Read the rest
“Energetics and the evolution of human brain size,” published in the November 2011 edition of Nature, tests and refutes the expensive tissue hypothesis. It’s impressive work, and pretty devastating to the hypothesis that has provided a rhetorical foundation to the paleo diet mythology for over a decade now.
Navarrete’s, et. al.’s, main findings (further details below) are:
- There is no negative correlation between brain size and gut size in any mammalian taxa, refuting the ETH’s prediction to the contrary.
- There is, however, a strong negative correlation between brain size and adipose tissue deposits; that is, fatter animals have smaller brains than lean ones; and,
- Humans are seeming exceptions to this rule because our fat deposits don’t interfere adversely with our means of locomotion, thus freeing up energy for encephalization that other primates have to use for carrying around all that fat.