What fed the great brains of humans? The controversial article proposes a new hypothesis.


Over the course of the Pleistocene epoch, between 2.6 million years ago and 11,700 years ago, the brains of humans and their relatives grew. Now, Tel Aviv University scientists have a new hypothesis for why: As the largest animals from the landscape disappeared, the scientists propose, human brains it had to grow to allow hunting smaller and faster prey.

This hypothesis holds that early humans specialized in taking down larger animals, such as elephants, which would have provided hearty greasy meals. When the number of these animals declined, humans with larger brains, who presumably had more brainpower, adapted better and captured smaller prey, leading to better brain survival.

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