URL to an interesting post from The Daily galaxy
There is archaeological evidence for the evolution of a human "super-brain"
no later than 75,000 years ago that spurred a modern capacity for novelty
and invention, according to _John Hoffecker_
, an archaeologist at the _University of Colorado_
6666667,-105.267222222 (University%20of%20Colorado%20at%20Boulder)&t=h) .
Scientists seeking to understand the origin of the human mind may want to
look to honeybees -- not ancestral apes -- for at least some of the answers,
according to a Hoffecker.
Hoffecker says there is abundant fossil and archaeological evidence for
the evolution of the human mind, including its unique power to create a
potentially infinite variety of thoughts expressed in the form of sentences, art
and technologies. He attributes the evolving power of the mind to the
formation of what he calls the "super-brain," or collective mind, an event that
took place in Africa no later than 75,000 years ago.
An internationally known archaeologist who has worked at sites in Europe
and the Arctic, Hoffecker said the formation of the super-brain was a
consequence of a rare ability to share complex thoughts among individual brains.
Among other creatures on Earth, the honeybee may be the best example of an
organism that has mastered the trick of communicating complex information --
including maps of food locations and information on potential nest sites
from one brain to another -- using their intricate "waggle dance."
"Humans obviously evolved a much wider range of communication tools to
express their thoughts, the most important being language," said Hoffecker, a
fellow at CU's Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research. "Individual human
brains within social groups became integrated into a neurologic Internet of
sorts, giving birth to the mind."
The image below illustrates the neocortex (Tamily Weissman, Jeff Lichtman,
and Joshua Sanes).The neocortex, Latin for "new bark," is our third, newly
human brain in terms of evolution. It is what makes possible our judgments
and our knowledge of good and evil. It is also the site from which our
creativity emerges and home to our sense of self.
The Neocortex says _Carl Sagan_
in his iconic Cosmos, is where "matter is
transformed into consciousness." It comprises more than two-thirds of our
brain mass. The realm of intuition and critical analysis,--it is the
Neocortex where we have our ideas and inspirations, where we read and write, where
we compose music or do mathematics. "It is the distinction of our species,"
writes Sagan,"the seat of our humanity. Civilization is the product of the
Each cubic millimeter of tissue in the neocortex, reports Michael Chorost
in World Wide Mind, contains between 860 million and 1.3 billion synapses.
Estimates of the total number of synapses in the neocortex range from 164
trillion to 200 trillion. The total number of synapses in the brain as a
whole is much higher than that. The neocorex has the same number of neurons as
a galaxy has stars: 100 billion.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]