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Researchers Say Dark Winters Led To Bigger Human Brains 167

Posted by samzenpus
from the head-in-the-clouds dept.
Brad1138 writes "Humans living at high latitude have bigger eyes and bigger brains to cope with poor light during long winters and cloudy days, UK scientists have said. from the article: 'The scientists measured the eye sockets and brain volumes of 55 skulls from 12 populations across the world, and plotted the results against latitude. Lead author Eiluned Pearce told BBC News: "We found a positive relationship between absolute latitude and both eye socket size and cranial capacity."'"
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Researchers Say Dark Winters Led To Bigger Human Brains

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  • by shking (125052) <babulicm@cuu[ ]b.ca ['g.a' in gap]> on Wednesday July 27, 2011 @07:29PM (#36902476) Homepage
    RTFA "The Oxford University team said bigger brains did not make people smarter. Larger vision processing areas fill the extra capacity, they write in the Royal Society's Biology Letters journal."
  • Re:Racists (Score:5, Informative)

    by quantaman (517394) on Wednesday July 27, 2011 @07:36PM (#36902528)

    Your comment just suggests you didn't bother to RTFA.

    "In the paper, we argue that having bigger brains doesn't mean that high-latitude humans are necessarily smarter. It's just they need bigger eyes and brains to be able to see well where they live."

    They're saying that the extra cranial capacity is being used by the visual processing centres of the brain.

    And to be honest, your comment isn't combating racism, it's reinforcing it.

  • Re:55 skulls?!?! (Score:5, Informative)

    by SquareVoid (973740) on Wednesday July 27, 2011 @07:58PM (#36902722)
    Not sure what statistical model they used, but there are plenty that allow for small sample sizes when certain conditions are met. Check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Student's_t-test [wikipedia.org]
  • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Wednesday July 27, 2011 @08:56PM (#36903148) Homepage

    the idea of there being specialized areas of the brain is coming into disrepute,

    No. There clearly are areas of specialized cortex, the visual cortex being one. That doesn't mean that other parts of the brain aren't involved in visual processing (for example). The trivial example of this is the homunculus [wikimedia.org]. If you damage a particular area in the motor or sensory cortex, you will see the effects of that damage in very specific regions of the body.

    Size of a particular region isn't necessarily correlated with the level or degree of function and lots of other things happen in various regions of the brain.[Long complex discussion on how the brain works. Lots of handwaving.]

    I'm not sure where you picked up that concept, but it's not correct, unless I'm not understanding what you meant to say.

  • Re:Variations (Score:3, Informative)

    by zixxt (1547061) on Wednesday July 27, 2011 @10:45PM (#36903796)
    Culture not race is bigger bearing on the IQ and test scores of a person. In fact it is noted that 5th-8th generation Asian-Americans score lower on tests than 1st-3rd generation Asian-Americans. The same is noted for the 1st-3rd generation Africans(i.e Nigerians, Senegalese) vs 8+ generations deep African-American cousins.

One man's "magic" is another man's engineering. "Supernatural" is a null word. -- Robert Heinlein

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