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Survival of the Fattest: The Key to Human Brain Evolution

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Overview

In general, evolution depends on a special combination of circumstances: part genetics, part time, and part environment. In the case of human brain evolution, the main environmental influence was adaptation to a 'shore-based' diet, which provided the world's richest source of nutrition, as well as a sedentary lifestyle that promoted fat deposition. Such a diet included shellfish, fish, marsh plants, frogs, bird's eggs, etc. Humans and, more importantly, hominid babies started to get fat, a crucial distinction that led to the development of larger brains and to the evolution of modern humans. A larger brain is expensive to maintain and this increasing demand for energy results in, succinctly, survival of the fattest.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9789812561916
  • Publisher: World Scientific Publishing Company, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/20/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface - how did the human brain evolve?
1 Human evolution : a brief overview 3
2 The human brain : evolution of larger size and plasticity 25
3 Defining characteristics : vulnerability and high energy requirement 51
4 Fatness in human babies : insurance for the developing brain 75
5 Nutrition : the key to normal human brain development 101
6 Iodine : the primary brain selective nutrient 115
7 Iron, copper, zinc and selenium : the other brain selective minerals 131
8 Docosahexaenoic acid : the brain selective fatty acid 151
9 Genes, brain function and human brain evolution 177
10 Bringing the environment and diet into play 191
11 The shore-based scenario : why survival misses the point 209
12 Earlier versions 227
13 The evidence 243
14 How would it work? 265
15 Survival of the fattest 285
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