The Human Advantage: A New Understanding of How Our Brain Became Remarkable (MIT Press)


Humans are striking. Our brains are vast, seven occasions greater than they need to be for the scale of bodies. The human mind makes use of 25% of the entire strength the physique calls for every day. And it grew to become huge, immense in a really brief period of time in evolution, permitting us to depart our cousins, the good apes, in the back of. So the human mind is unique, correct? fallacious, in accordance with Suzana Herculano-Houzel. people have constructed cognitive skills that outstrip these of all different animals, yet no longer simply because we're evolutionary outliers. The human mind was once no longer singled out to turn into extraordinary in its personal specific method, and it by no means stopped being a primate mind. If we're not an exception to the principles of evolution, then what's the resource of the human advantage?

Herculano-Houzel indicates that it isn't the dimensions of our mind that concerns however the incontrovertible fact that we've got extra neurons within the cerebral cortex than the other animal, due to our ancestors' invention, a few 1.5 million years in the past, of a extra effective strategy to receive energy: cooking. simply because we're primates, extra energy in much less time made attainable the quick acquisition of an important variety of neurons within the nonetheless really small cerebral cortex -- the a part of the mind answerable for discovering styles, reasoning, constructing expertise, and passing it on via tradition.

Herculano-Houzel exhibits us how she got here to those conclusions -- making "brain soup" to figure out the variety of neurons within the mind, for instance, and bringing animal brains in a suitcase via customs. The Human Advantage is a fascinating and unique examine how we turned impressive with no ever being special.

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