The Lives of the Brain: Human Evolution and the Organ of by John S. Allen PDF

By John S. Allen

ISBN-10: 0674035348

ISBN-13: 9780674035348

Although now we have different distinguishing features (walking on legs, for example, and relative hairlessness), the mind and the habit it produces are what really set us except the opposite apes and primates. and the way this three-pound organ composed of water, fats, and protein grew to become a mammal species into the dominant animal on the earth this present day is the tale John S. Allen seeks to inform. Adopting what he calls a “bottom-up” method of the evolution of human habit, Allen considers the mind as a organic organ; a set of genes, cells, and tissues that grows, eats, and a long time, and is topic to the direct results of normal choice and the phylogenetic constraints of its ancestry. An exploration of the evolution of this serious organ in line with contemporary paintings in paleo­anthropology, mind anatomy and neuroimaging, molecular genetics, lifestyles background conception, and similar fields, his ebook indicates us the mind as a manufactured from the contexts during which it developed: phylogenetic, somatic, genetic, ecological, demographic, and finally, cultural-linguistic. all through, Allen makes a speciality of the principles of mind evolution instead of the evolution of habit or cognition. this attitude demonstrates how, simply as a few points of our habit emerge in unforeseen methods from the advance of sure cognitive capacities, a extra nuanced figuring out of behavioral evolution may perhaps boost from a clearer photo of mind evolution. (20091001)

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Additional resources for The Lives of the Brain: Human Evolution and the Organ of Mind

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52). Clearly, brain size matters when talking about our own species and our close cousin species. Increased brain size is a hallmark of the genus Homo, and all members of that genus can be characterized as having “big” brains. But what exactly does “big” mean? How big is big?

Myelin is a fatty lipid, which gives the white matter its distinctive hue. The white matter is not a homogeneous tissue, but instead consists of a variety of fiber tracts and bundles connecting various parts of the brain. The most obvious of these tracts is the corpus callosum, the large band of white matter located in the midline of the brain that allows integration of cortical activity between the two hemispheres; usually, but not always, between mirrorimage counterparts of each hemisphere. The corpus callosum does not provide a hemispheric bridge for all of the cerebral cortex (the motor and somatosensory areas of the hand are a notable exception), and some interhemispheric connections pass through two smaller white-matter tracts, the anterior and posterior commissures.

However, the absence of visible gyral change cannot be taken as the absence of cortical reorganization, since a single gyrus can contain more than one functional region. The appearance of sulci and gyri on the brain’s surface may seem quite chaotic, but there are greater and lesser regularities that can be discerned (Ono et al. 1990; Rademacher et al. 1992). The central sulcus and Sylvian fissure are two major sulci that appear early in development. They can be seen across primate species and provide homologous landmarks for studying aspects of the evolution of functional organization in primate brains.

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The Lives of the Brain: Human Evolution and the Organ of Mind by John S. Allen

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