Thought for the month

“There is nothing noble in being superior to some other man. The true nobility is in being superior to your previous self.” Probably W.L. Sheldon, US lecturer on ethics (1858 – 1907) rather than Ernest Hemingway.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Dim up North

A group at Oxford University have studied the eye sockets and brain capacity of human skulls from 12 different populations across the world and found that the further human populations live from the equator, the bigger their brains. The skulls used in the study dated back to the 1800s and included samples from England, Australia, Canary Islands, China, France, India, Kenya, Micronesia, Scandinavia, Somalia, Uganda and the United States. However, this does not unfortunately mean that us northerners are smarter. Apparently our ancestors developed bigger vision areas in the brain to cope with the low light levels at high latitudes. Living away from the equator, where there is less light available, humans had to evolve bigger eyes, their brains also need to be bigger to deal with the extra visual input.

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