Thursday, August 4, 2011
Study finds physical endurance my cause intelligence
Ever wonder why humans are the smartest animals on the planet, and not piranha, jackrabbits or beets? Perhaps it's from having physical muscular endurance.
According to anthropologists David Raichlen and Adam Gordon, of the University of Arizona and University of Albany, respectively, being able to run, swim, and fight longer may have pushed humans to the next stage of intellectual evolution. Why? Having that physical endurance offers more opportunity to act intelligently, and which means higher brain function had a better chance of becoming an evolved trait.
What Raichlen and Gordon found is that big brains take more energy, so on in evolutionary terms being smarter isn't always better. All that extra thinking could lead animals to starve to death, not mate, or not ensure the best line of evolution possible (sound familiar?). Primates, which have more physical endurance than, say, big cats, are smarter because of it, not the other way around.
The premise makes sense, which kind of sucks for us. The last couple hundred years humans have all but given the finger to evolution in favor of humanitarianism, which keeps the weak and stupid mating right alongside you and me. So humans aren't moving forward anywhere. Then again, we'll all have robot bodies by 2099, so it's cool.