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Let’s Look at the Evolution of the Brain

When did a human become a human? Let’s look at the evolution of the brain.

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Our closest evolutionary relatives, the great apes, share many physical and behavioral traits with humans. However, there are distinct differences in the size and complexity of our brains that set us apart.

The human brain is significantly larger than that of any other primate, and is capable of a wide range of complex cognitive processes such as language, problem-solving, and abstract reasoning. This increase in brain size and complexity is thought to have played a key role in our evolution from early hominids to modern humans.

One of the earliest examples of this trend can be seen in the fossils of Homo habilis, an early human ancestor that lived around 2.8 million years ago. While Homo habilis had a brain that was only slightly larger than that of other hominids, it was also more complex, with a greater capacity for tool-making and other forms of problem-solving.

As our ancestors continued to evolve, their brains continued to grow and develop. The next major step in this process came with the emergence of Homo erectus, an early human ancestor that lived between 1.9 and 0.4 million years ago. Homo erectus had a significantly larger brain than Homo habilis, and was capable of more advanced forms of tool-making and social behavior.

This trend continued with the emergence of Homo neanderthalensis, an extinct human species that lived in Europe and Asia until around 40,000 years ago. Neanderthals had brains that were even larger than those of Homo erectus, and were capable of complex language and social interaction.

Finally, the modern human brain emerged around 200,000 years ago, with the appearance of Homo sapiens. The human brain is not only larger than that of any other primate, but is also more complex, with a greater capacity for abstract thought and self-awareness.

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