NEW YORK (AP) – Why do people have such big brains? A new study suggests it’s mostly due to the mental demands our ancestors faced from coping individually with their environment.
In relation to our body size, our brains are huge for mammals. Scientists have long debated what evolutionary factors pushed it to that size. The new study was reported Wednesday in the journal Nature by researchers from St. Andrews University in Scotland.
They suggest the biggest evolutionary pressure came from the mental challenge of an individual dealing with the environment, such as finding food. Also contributing were the challenges of cooperation, such as banding together to hunt, and competition between groups of people.