Did the Human Brain Evolve the Ability to Evolve?

Chimpanzees, living in the 2037 world imagined by science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke, have been reclassified as Homo and granted full rights as persons. An evolutionary worldview — the belief that humans and chimps are close cousins evolved from a common ancestor — is the basis of this fiction. Yet even in that fictional future, as now, chimps and humans differ radically in behavior and intelligence. If chimps and humans share a common ancestor, how did humans get their bigger, better brains? Inquiring evolutionary minds want to know! Evolutionists comparing chimp and human brains think they've found the answer. And while they have found physical manifestations of the unique, highly adaptive nature of the human brain, to claim they’ve answered the evolutionary question of its origin is another thing entirely. Nevertheless, their study is quite interesting for those amazed at the potential of a helpless human baby to quickly grow into a bright and clever child. Moreover, they shed light on how identical twins differ.

Nature Versus Nurture

Human newborns cannot jump up and walk like many newborn animals, largely because their brains have not yet reached the necessary neurological milestones. They simply aren't "wired" to walk or talk, but they are ready to grow and be shaped by their world. Human newborns' brains have all their nerve cells in place but dramatically increase in size and organizational connections after birth. Stimulation and interaction with their surroundings influences the development of the complex interconnections at the root of human intelligence. A rich environment surrounded by affectionate caregivers affects the emotional and intellectual development of a young child.4 Evidence suggests that at least part of the way this occurs is through a literal "shaping" of the brain, or rather the connections within it.

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