Sep 19 2007

The evolution of the human brain

A half-billion years ago, the three pounds of neurons and neural networks of our human brain began to evolve from sponges and ancient sea creatures.

How did this happen? It’s amazingly simple. Ancient organisms began to evolve the capacity to move to make it easier to find food. Makes sense doesn’t it? Ancient sea creatures were just like us. When we have the munchies after working hard into the night, we go searching for our favorite comfort food…where can we find it? If one place is closed, we may go looking elsewhere until we can find it.

So it was for our distant cousins. They needed to survive too and the millions of years of evolutionary process helped create the first nerve cells enabling our early cousins to begin to move.

Sponges do not move, so they have always been limited to food floating there way. Imagine jellyfish and sea anemones and the way they move with the flow of water currents. There ability to move to find food can be viewed as a positive evolutionary adaptation. Their chances of survival increased as they were able to move about to find food, rather than wait for it passively to come to them, as in the sponges.

Interested in exploring the connection between the brain, memory and learning? Check out this website.

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