Brain function and evolution,why rest of our brain is non-functional?

  1. Sorry if this looks a bit premature for evolution; just can’t stop asking!!

    Dolphins, human and Crovidaes are living in three different environments, within these three human (land inhabitant) reached the most advance brain function, although our brain could not use many of its ability based on the scientific researches.

    My question if how this fits into the evolution? Why we are only using a small quantity of our mind and why we have the rest, when it was not needed for our survival based on evolution? or it was?

    Second Q: suppose that human disappears and condition stays perfect for dolphins, would they be able to send rockets to the moon in a time frame in future? what will happen to this highly advanced brain?

  2. jcsd
  3. mfb

    Staff: Mentor

    Does this come from a scientific source, or some book written for the public?
    While some brains can do things normal brains cannot, this does not mean that those functions would give any evolutionary advantage.
    I doubt that. They do not have hands, and water is a bad environment for metalwork.
  4. Humans are social animals, meaning we are able to convey ideas to each other. This perhaps developed pretty early in our history. Advanced brain function is a quirk in our history. But let us take timeline over which we have advanced technology , only last 50 to 100 yrs. Again it is a quirk or chance that we have hit upon this, nothing more.

    Do birds require wings for survival ? Do girafffes require long necks for survival? Do Bats require supersonic waves for survival?. We probably had an advantage with skill sets our brain allows, perhaps that is why we have it.
  5. How about this guys, maybe in the past we were able to use more of our brain but as time went on we lost function. Pyramids and other amazing things were done in the past and dullards attribute them to aliens. Ha ha ha. I say give us credit. Even with all the technology we posses, we still cannot figure out how they did it. The same goes for "junk" DNA.
  6. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    Are you basing this on that misconception that humans only use 10% of their brain? That's wrong.

    You failed to provide any sources for where you got such an idea which is why you need to supply sources so we know what you have read.
  7. Yes, as Evo pointed out the 10% deal is indeed a myth. All the neurons in your nervous system need to be active and participating in network interactions all the time or else they die. This is how the brain "prunes" itself during development, those that do not become incorporated into a functional network die off. I think this myth got created through confusion with the utilization of your mental capacity or something like that, but that is very different than what alot of people think it means, i.e. that only 10% of your brain is doing anything at any given time. I think when the myth started it was actually only 3% that you were supposed to use! That's what I remember of my first exposure to it. Nice to hear that "further study" has bumped it up to 10%. Lol.

    In any case, the answer to your question is the subject of hot debate right now in cognitive neuroscience. I have my own ideas on the issue I won't bore you with, other than to say that it is also a myth that gross brain size per se, or brain/body ratios (i.e. Encephalization Quotient (EQ)) is linearly equivelant with intelligence. To put it simply, the fact that dolphins and Magpies have high EQ's as humans do does not mean that they think the way humans do. There are many structural differences among these three brains, and it is likely that an internal structural uniqueness in the human brain accounts for its specialness. That fact that dolphins and magpies do not have hands certianly doesn't help their situation, but even if they did I don't think they'd ever get it together to send rockets to the moon, as you say.

    Edit: I guess you can't blame the OP for that misconception, I just remember that they used it in the movie "Limitless." The idea was the drug he took allowed him to utilize 100% of his brain up from (I'm supposing) the 10%. Funny thing is I actually loved that movie even though they botched the science. Lol.
  8. mfb

    Staff: Mentor

    We are not sure which method they used to build them. There are multiple concepts how it could be done.
    On the other hand, do you think the old Egyptians would have any idea how to build rockets and computers?

    Anyway, this is not a matter of intelligence, it is a matter of education and existing scientific knowledge. If you could somehow get a baby of the old Egyptians and let it grow up in our time, it would be hard to notice a difference. The same goes for the other direction.
  9. No I do not believe in the 10% usage idea. I think that sometimes people have access to the part of the brain that the masses do not use like Einstein or Plato ect. If you have noticed, lately there are not as many GREAT thinkers as there was in the past or great anything like in the past dear mentor person.
    That is a fact and historic proof of what I am getting at.You have to admit that for being so so advanced we still stand in aw of what was accomplished by the ancients. Given that they did not know as much about medicine or current knowledge that we've gained off of developing their discoveries, we are not all that intelligent. We just have better toys and have had more time to develop what they started.
    I am not arrogant or thinking I am great but I can see what is in front of my face. Only losers attribute past accomplishments to persons other than humans. If you are an EVO head which I think you are, why have not we developed even farther than we are. In the last 5000-6000 years we have gone from under humans to where we are now. Why only just now and why cant we readily imitate our ancestors with what they had available if as evolutionists posit, we should be past that stage of development.
  10. I don't know what are you trying to prove here ? And what is a EVO head ? What do you mean by " we have not developed even farther" ?

    Why is it so hard for you grasp that, yes people in the past did some incredible feats of engineering , But people now are also doing incredible feats of engineering, its just human history.

    Besides what has human technological advancement got to do with biological evolution ? you are confusing one with the other.
    Last edited: May 1, 2013
  11. mfb

    Staff: Mentor

    In the past, there was less existing knowledge and there were fewer scientists - it was easier to find something new, and it was easier to stand out.
    It is not.

    Today, the scale for scientists [in particle physics or cosmology, for example] is not to reach Einstein - you have to go beyond that, and find something Einstein did not.

    If we would have started the same development 1000 years earlier, the question would have come up 1000 years earlier. With the same result. Developments need time - but the speed of innovation is increasing quickly.
  12. Use 10% of the brain I thought refereed to the "conscious activity" compared to total activity.
  13. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    You appear to have a grave misunderstanding of how evolution works.

    Also, a huge mistake that people make when talking about things made in the past is thinking about it with the concerns and constraints of modern society. These things were built with little or no concern for the life and safety of the people that were forced to do the labor. They didn't have government committees that had safety rules for laborers. Most laborers were slaves and conscripts. Or they could be laboring as a community for a purpose, religious or otherwise. People were routinely killed and maimed doing back breaking labor, sometimes for generations to create these "wonders". It's amazing what can be done with enough manpower over enough time if safety isn't a concern.
  14. The 10% thing was debunked a while ago, as well as the size of brain. On the show "Dark Matters" There was a guy who dissected Einstein's brain and later they found his brain had more glial cells and thereby implied more connections was correlated with intelligence, which makes sense.
  15. mfb

    Staff: Mentor

    It is quite adventurous to conclude that from a single brain.
  16. Tell me again, when did you stop beating your wife? My question is like yours because both assumes a fact that likely is not true, so you can't answer.

    My opinion. We DO use all of our brain, it's just that we don't know what we use it for. It is like all that DNA we don't use. Yes we do. I'd bet anyone $100 that if I were to remove the brain parts or the DNA you don't use you'd be dead. It is used or as you said evolution would have eliminated it.

    So you ask "Is our level of intelligence inevitable?". Well, for 200 million years before humans there were no reptiles going to the moon. Then 6M years ago there were many pre-human lines and only one survived. We homos had a poor record until recently (100K years?) when one small band of them took off.

    I think in the universe we will find that life is common but technology is unbelievably rare, maybe just one example.
  17. The reason we think more stuff was done in the past than now is simply because the "past" is a larger span of years then the "present". If the present is only the last 50, 100 or 500 years that is short compared to the last 6,000 years.

    Same applies to music. Why is the radio always filled with "junk" from people with no talent but in the past there was always good music? Because we can pick and choose what to remember from the past and forget the junk. The present is in your faces and we can't ignore it. It is the same with non-music and going back 6,000 years.

  18. sun 4.57b yrs

    Earth (with life) 3.6b yrs
    Earth (with humans) 200,000 yrs

    Look at Timeline of evolutionary history of life

    I think advanced life like humans, is more of a build it and they will come thing, evidently the comparative advantage of intelligence* & dexterity wins, evolution itself forced this result.

    *a really loaded word i know. Here it includes communication/writing ect, the jist of it is brains and hands are tough evolutionary advantages to beat

    in other words, if it's an environment like Earth, the evolution towards a techy civilization is merely a matter of time, idealizing a situation similar to Earth.

    I'd be interested to know how the type of energy from the sun effects life, specifically if our sun is the perfect size & composition, leaving distance from the sun as a variable.
    Last edited: May 9, 2013
  19. You could be right. W don't have good statistics yet with a sample size of only one.But,.....

    Why did it not evolve faster? Why didn't reptiles build iPhones 100 million years ago? Or why did early hominids take 6 million years to develop.

    Why is the galaxy not crowded with space ships? It should be. Assume every intelligent civilization eventually discovers space travel. In 1,000 years we might be able to travel at 1/10th the speed of light with only that technology we could colonize the galaxy in under a million years. If human like life is common the galaxy should have already been colonized millions of years ago.

    One Earth life happened almost as soon as it was physically possible but why was our ecological niche when empty for billions for years. Intelligence is likely very rare or even unique
    Last edited: May 10, 2013
  20. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    Don't make the mistake of confusing evolution with technical advancement. Technological discoveries do not require nor are they dependent on human evolution.

    You'll need to ask a specific question.
  21. If Earth is typical and we looked at Earth at some ramdom point on history we'd have a 200,000 in 3,600,000,000 chance of finding a human. (about 1 in 18,000)

    This is exaclty what I wrote abouve that live is common but humans are a 1 in 18,000 rare case.

    Actually I was unfair and assumed humans would only be here for 200K years. We might last longer. So let's say we are the rare 1 in 10,000 case. and in the other 9,000+ cases you only see microbes
    Last edited: May 10, 2013
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