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Human Evolution; Is the Hobbit's brain unfeasibly small?
ScienceDaily ^ | 1/28/2010 | EnderWiggins

Posted on 01/28/2010 1:12:23 PM PST by EnderWiggins

Homo floresiensis, a pygmy-sized small-brained hominin popularly known as 'the Hobbit' was discovered five years ago, but controversy continues over whether the small brain is actually due to a pathological condition. How can its tiny brain size be explained?

The commonly held assumption that as primates evolved, their brains always tended to get bigger has been challenged by a team of scientists at Cambridge and Durham. Their work helps solve the mystery of whether Homo floresiensis -- dubbed the Hobbit due to its diminutive stature -- was a separate human species or a diseased individual.

The team combined previously published datasets of brain and body mass with measurements from fossil remains. They then used three different mathematical methods to reconstruct patterns of brain evolution across the primate family tree from these 37 existing and 23 extinct primate species.

The results show that while brains evolved to be larger in both relative and absolute terms along most branches of the primate family tree, the opposite happened along several lineages. For example brain size shrank during the evolution of Mouse Lemurs, Marmosets and Mangabeys.

(Excerpt) Read more at sciencedaily.com ...


TOPICS: Science
KEYWORDS: asbestosrequired; darwinism; evolution; floresiensis; godsgravesglyphs; hobbits
The interesting point this article makes is that evolution is not directional, i.e. it is not a constant progression from simple to advanced. In fact, it is non-directional except in the direction of fitness... a criterion that changes as the environment changes.

Sometimes brains get bigger. Sometimes they get smaller. And sometimes, they stay the same.
1 posted on 01/28/2010 1:12:24 PM PST by EnderWiggins
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To: EnderWiggins

Ask Tiger Woods and John Edwards... they did most of their thinking with smaller heads than that.


2 posted on 01/28/2010 1:14:36 PM PST by Tijeras_Slim (Live jubtabulously!)
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To: EnderWiggins

[Sometimes brains get bigger. Sometimes they get smaller. And sometimes, they stay the same]

You certainly went out on a with that prediction. :)


3 posted on 01/28/2010 1:20:28 PM PST by FastCoyote (I am intolerant of the intolerable.)
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To: FastCoyote

out on a limb, sigh


4 posted on 01/28/2010 1:21:20 PM PST by FastCoyote (I am intolerant of the intolerable.)
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To: FastCoyote

Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains.

Think about that for a while.


5 posted on 01/28/2010 1:21:42 PM PST by Tijeras_Slim (Live jubtabulously!)
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To: EnderWiggins

I thought this hobbit thing had been debunked years ago. I guess its like AGW in that people love pop-science


6 posted on 01/28/2010 1:25:33 PM PST by GeronL (http://tyrannysentinel.blogspot.com)
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To: EnderWiggins

Or: “Evidence that Hobbits were Liberals?”


7 posted on 01/28/2010 1:27:00 PM PST by Above My Pay Grade ("I don't have a whole lot of mercy for the bad guys, I'm on the good guys' side." -Sarah Palin)
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To: GeronL

I think you missed a debunk of the debunk. I clicked on this thread just trying to keep up with which debunk we’re on:)


8 posted on 01/28/2010 1:37:59 PM PST by Cold Heart
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To: Cold Heart
The Master Hobbit, Frodo Baggins...



May the hair on his feet never fall out!
9 posted on 01/28/2010 1:40:58 PM PST by BigEdLB (Now there ARE 1,000,000 regrets - but it may be too late.)
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To: EnderWiggins

Interesting article, thanks for posting.


10 posted on 01/28/2010 1:50:21 PM PST by Inyo-Mono (Had God not driven man from the Garden of Eden the Sierra Club surely would have.)
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To: BigEdLB
The Master Hobbit, Frodo Baggins...

I kept looking at the movie and thinking "Damn, he looks like Bjork...!"

11 posted on 01/28/2010 2:17:18 PM PST by Grut
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To: GeronL
"I thought this hobbit thing had been debunked years ago. I guess its like AGW in that people love pop-science"

You were misinformed.

:D
12 posted on 01/28/2010 2:35:18 PM PST by EnderWiggins
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To: FastCoyote
"You certainly went out on a with that prediction. :)

lol... oh much further than merely out on a (limb).

It's actually a very, very important point if one really wants to understand evolution, or respond to some of the classic Creationist canards like, "why are there still apes?"

The caricature of evolution is that it is some sort of inexorable unrolling from simple to complex, when in fact the overwhelming evidence is that it is non directional. Sometimes it goes from simple to complex. Sometimes from complex to simple. Most of the time it just goes sideways.

For example, bacteria rule the planet. They have always ruled the planet. They probably will always rule the planet. We glibly talk about "The age of reptiles," or "The age of mammals."

In point of fact, it has always been "The age of bacteria."

;)
13 posted on 01/28/2010 2:41:37 PM PST by EnderWiggins
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To: EnderWiggins

Yep, just like global warming. If it gets colder, that proof of global warming, if it gets warmer, that proof of global warming, if temperatures neither rise nor fall, case closed for proof of AWG,, climate change, global warming, the consensus is in..everything is proof.

Yep, big brain, little brain, no change, all change, all proof of evolution.

Outstanding.


14 posted on 01/28/2010 3:16:36 PM PST by count-your-change (You don't have be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: Cold Heart

dibs on de top bunk


15 posted on 01/28/2010 3:17:24 PM PST by ExGeeEye (The revolution began in Massachusetts -- again.)
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To: count-your-change
Lol... what an odd response. Who even raised any of this as "proof" of anything? I understand that not all of us have time to actually read and understand the posts we respond to, but sometimes it actually helps to make time.

If I wanted to talk about "proof" I'd be chatting up endogenous retroviruses, or the demonstrated increase in genetic information created by gene duplication, or ring species. But that was not the purpose of this post.

The purpose was to debunk a common false caricature of evolution as a progressive process that inexorably proceeds from simple to complex. It's not.

The change in brain size either way is evolution. And changes in brains even without changes in their size are evolution. The evolutionary difference between a horse and a zebra (which many creationists accept as having occurred) is far greater than the evolutionary difference between humans and chimpanzees.

Evolution does not take place according to some creationist caricature. It instead proceeds according to invariant natural law.
16 posted on 01/28/2010 4:15:02 PM PST by EnderWiggins
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To: StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; 1ofmanyfree; 21twelve; 24Karet; 2ndDivisionVet; 31R1O; ...

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Well, this is gonna get ugly I think. :') Welcome to FR, EnderWiggins.

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GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother, and Ernest_at_the_Beach
 

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17 posted on 01/28/2010 7:39:48 PM PST by SunkenCiv (Happy New Year! Freedom is Priceless.)
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To: SunkenCiv

Is it bigger than a weasel’s brain?

Then it’s not unfeasibly small for a Democrat; kind of iffy for a Libertarian or many “Establishment” Republicans; definetly unfeasibly small for a Conservative.

That ugly enough? LOL!


18 posted on 01/28/2010 8:15:00 PM PST by ApplegateRanch (I think not, therefore I don't exist!)
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To: ApplegateRanch

;’)


19 posted on 01/28/2010 8:25:23 PM PST by SunkenCiv (Happy New Year! Freedom is Priceless.)
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To: EnderWiggins
The problem is with the basic laws of mathematics and probability, with which evolution is essentially incompatible. A reasonable person could entertain a theory which required one or possibly even two probabilistic miracles in the history of the universe, or possibly even in the history of our own planet.

But evolution(ism) requires infinite series of probabilistic miracles and zero-probability events. That basically stands everything we know about modern mathematics and probability theory on its head.

20 posted on 01/28/2010 8:35:58 PM PST by wendy1946
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To: EnderWiggins
Most of the time it just goes sideways.

Geeze, I thought it went in a spiral.


21 posted on 01/28/2010 8:38:08 PM PST by ApplegateRanch (I think not, therefore I don't exist!)
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To: SunkenCiv; JoeProBono
No shit.Maybe this will cheer him up?
22 posted on 01/28/2010 8:49:28 PM PST by GSP.FAN (These are the times that try men's souls.)
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To: EnderWiggins
Human Evolution; Is the Hobbit's brain unfeasibly small?



23 posted on 01/29/2010 4:33:41 AM PST by Condor51 (The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits [A. Einstein])
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To: wendy1946
"But evolution(ism) requires infinite series of probabilistic miracles and zero-probability events. That basically stands everything we know about modern mathematics and probability theory on its head.:

It has been my most common experience across the years to find that when a creationist makes the claim that "evolution is mathematically impossible," they are generally just repeating what somebody else has told them and would have no idea how to actually go about performing that calculation. In the rare instance where they actually try to propose one, they have every single time built a model that had nothing to do with evolution.

I'd love to see you try and defend your assertion here with an actual calculation. Because I am happy to show you your error and demonstrate that evolution is actually a statistical certainty.
24 posted on 01/29/2010 10:35:17 AM PST by EnderWiggins
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To: GSP.FAN; Condor51

*That’s* what I’m talkin’ about...


25 posted on 01/29/2010 5:15:58 PM PST by SunkenCiv (Happy New Year! Freedom is Priceless.)
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