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Researchers Say Dark Winters Led To Bigger Human Brains

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the head-in-the-clouds dept.

Science 167

Brad1138 writes "Humans living at high latitude have bigger eyes and bigger brains to cope with poor light during long winters and cloudy days, UK scientists have said. from the article: 'The scientists measured the eye sockets and brain volumes of 55 skulls from 12 populations across the world, and plotted the results against latitude. Lead author Eiluned Pearce told BBC News: "We found a positive relationship between absolute latitude and both eye socket size and cranial capacity."'"

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Variations (1)

astrodoom (1396409) | more than 3 years ago | (#36902430)

Yah know, if we keep finding variations, we're gonna have to take another look at our "primate ancestors".

Re:Variations (2)

derGoldstein (1494129) | more than 3 years ago | (#36902704)

Well, we've looked at practically every Ape species that we could find, because we're land mammals and we have access to, well, land. If you want to find surprises, I'd look to the oceans. Do we really know every "variant" of dolphins? What about whales? We judge intelligence by how *like us* species are, which means (among other things) that we want to see them using tools. Who's to say there aren't several whale "languages" (there probably are), or that dolphins don't "discuss" hunting tactics.

I'm temped to use "there are more things in heaven and earth", since Shakespeare seems to have neglected the sea.

Re:Variations (1)

WaywardGeek (1480513) | more than 3 years ago | (#36903366)

If you look at northern Europeans (like me), it's easy to see we are decended from Neanderthals [independent.co.uk] . Where do you think the white skin, blond hair, blue eyes, and huge noses came from? Duh. The stupid white Neanderthals mated with super-smart blacks from Africa, creating the modern race of whites.

Re:Variations (-1, Troll)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 3 years ago | (#36903438)

One has to consider, then, why "blacks" aren't as 'smart' as whites or Asians, now, then. (I'm basing the fact that, well, they never actually left Africa, they're in Africa, not many significant cultures have come from Africa, blacks typically test lower on IQ tests despite socioeconomic adjustment, etc.)

What happened? You'd think the resulting half-breeds (us modern whites) would be less smart than blacks due to breeding with the stupid neanderthals.

Or, maybe your presumption that the Neanderthals were stupid is false. Though I suppose it could've been that all the bright black ancestors left Africa at the time (albeit, unlikely).

What's-likely-to-get-me-labeled-racist aside, I'd thought it was fairly well known that Neanderthals had larger brain capacity/skulls than us modern humans. I've attributed it to them actually being more intelligent, though likely lacking in some sort of physical fashion (high protein requirements, enjoyed fucking too much, lazy, physically slow, too peaceful, lacked motivation, whatever).

Re:Variations (3, Informative)

zixxt (1547061) | more than 3 years ago | (#36903796)

Culture not race is bigger bearing on the IQ and test scores of a person. In fact it is noted that 5th-8th generation Asian-Americans score lower on tests than 1st-3rd generation Asian-Americans. The same is noted for the 1st-3rd generation Africans(i.e Nigerians, Senegalese) vs 8+ generations deep African-American cousins.

Re:Variations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36903816)

> I've attributed it to them [Neanderthal] actually being more intelligent, though likely lacking in some sort of physical fashion (high protein requirements, enjoyed fucking too much, lazy, physically slow, too peaceful, lacked motivation, whatever).

The Neanderthals lived in smaller groups than Cro-Magnon. A tribe of 100-150 people will kick a the ass of a family-tribe of 5-30 people. And rape their women.

whats-likely-to-get-me-labeled-racist (2)

mevets (322601) | more than 3 years ago | (#36903940)

Isn't the contorted facts that you drool; its that you drool them. Racist is a convenient short hand for stupid, ignorant and mainly afraid.

It may be no more your fault than if you were born blind. Like the blind, there is a lot you can do to overcome your disability. The blind can because they have motivation and courage. Courage is a very big part of overcoming your limitations.

Peer groups can help with motivation and support. That is what has made AA the success it is, and there are a wide range of peer support groups available. But, as a first step, you seek them out. Motivation is important; and life really is a lot better if you aren't hampered by being stupid, ignorant and afraid. Good Luck.

Re:Variations (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36903820)

If whales and dolphins are so intelligent, then why are they easily fished by the Japanese?
You'd think their advanced tactics would help them. At least to flee to the shores of a country where people don't eat them for breakfast.
If we could conclude they are intelligent, then it would mean they want to be eaten.

Re:Variations (2)

homey of my owney (975234) | more than 3 years ago | (#36902852)

No No... This makes sense... Stay with me, but the climate is warming, right? Regardless what you think about why. And I've notices that people seems to be getting stupider and stupider...

Re:Variations (3, Funny)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 3 years ago | (#36903118)

Global warming affects the temperature, not the length of night.

Do you by any chance live near the equator? ;)

Re:Variations (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36904270)

Wow! 55 skulls from 12 different populations! What's that, less than 5 skulls per population? Geniuses from northern latitudes must have designed this experiment.

Seriously, did anyone else notice that this sounds like a repeat of Phrenology?

Re:Variations (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 3 years ago | (#36903524)

No No... This makes sense... Stay with me, but the climate is warming, right? Regardless what you think about why. And I've notices that people seems to be getting stupider and stupider...

Right, right, and successful high-seas piracy requires intelligence and so rising global stupid leads to a decline in global pirates, which we already know is what causes the rising global temperature. It's a big feedback loop.

Re:Variations (0)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 3 years ago | (#36904008)

global stupid is a myth perpetrated by scientists who want research grants.

Re:Variations (0)

stonewallred (1465497) | more than 3 years ago | (#36903922)

What ancestors? God created man. Says so in the Holy King James Bible. Prepare yourself for Hell, for all eternity sinner. And may the Almighty G-d send all your family there with you so your suffering and be more complete watching them suffer eternal damnation and pain.

Re:Variations (1)

astrodoom (1396409) | more than 3 years ago | (#36904288)

Quotes convey things sometimes...

MMMMMM. BRAINSSSSS! (1)

fat bastard of doom (1187649) | more than 3 years ago | (#36902450)

I wonder what the relevence is in regards to intelligence.

Re:MMMMMM. BRAINSSSSS! (4, Informative)

shking (125052) | more than 3 years ago | (#36902476)

RTFA "The Oxford University team said bigger brains did not make people smarter. Larger vision processing areas fill the extra capacity, they write in the Royal Society's Biology Letters journal."

Re:MMMMMM. BRAINSSSSS! (2)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 3 years ago | (#36902486)

The Oxford University team said bigger brains did not make people smarter

I don't need large brains to have a good time!

Re:MMMMMM. BRAINSSSSS! (2)

one cup of coffee (1623645) | more than 3 years ago | (#36904134)

It's not the size that matters, it's how you use it.

Re:MMMMMM. BRAINSSSSS! (1)

XanC (644172) | more than 3 years ago | (#36902502)

How do they know a) that it's entirely vision processing that takes the extra space (the idea of there being specialized areas of the brain is coming into disrepute, I understand) and b) that that has no effect on intelligence?

Re:MMMMMM. BRAINSSSSS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36902804)

Furthermore, wouldn't you expect them to precisely have better visual intelligence because of it? Like... the purpose of the brain matter filling the region? I find it hard to believe that mass does nothing.

Re:MMMMMM. BRAINSSSSS! (4, Informative)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#36903148)

the idea of there being specialized areas of the brain is coming into disrepute,

No. There clearly are areas of specialized cortex, the visual cortex being one. That doesn't mean that other parts of the brain aren't involved in visual processing (for example). The trivial example of this is the homunculus [wikimedia.org] . If you damage a particular area in the motor or sensory cortex, you will see the effects of that damage in very specific regions of the body.

Size of a particular region isn't necessarily correlated with the level or degree of function and lots of other things happen in various regions of the brain.[Long complex discussion on how the brain works. Lots of handwaving.]

I'm not sure where you picked up that concept, but it's not correct, unless I'm not understanding what you meant to say.

Re:MMMMMM. BRAINSSSSS! (1)

teslar (706653) | more than 3 years ago | (#36903902)

I'm not sure where you picked up that concept, but it's not correct, unless I'm not understanding what you meant to say.

I think he may at least in part be referring to things like language processing. People used to point at Broca's area, draw some arrows to Wernicke's area and there ya go, here's yer language bits. Only now we know that's not really true and that language processing seems to involve, for instance, sensorimotor areas of the brain too.

So while you're certainly correct when it comes to sensorimotor areas but he has a point when we're talking about higher-level cognition.

Re:MMMMMM. BRAINSSSSS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36903372)

Hi, Ph.D. in Neurosciences here. No, that is not in disrepute.

Re:MMMMMM. BRAINSSSSS! (1)

codeAlDente (1643257) | more than 3 years ago | (#36903762)

To play devil's advocate, I hereby dispute this.

Re:MMMMMM. BRAINSSSSS! (1)

codeAlDente (1643257) | more than 3 years ago | (#36903782)

Just kidding, sorry, forgot my sarcasm flag. Retina is a good example of a specialized brain region.

Re:MMMMMM. BRAINSSSSS! (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 3 years ago | (#36903576)

You're pretty close to the target with that. I read this article earlier today, before it hit slashdot. In effect, they measured the skulls of people who have been dead for 200 years. They did NOT measure the brains, the lobes of the brain, or anything to do with the brain, other than skull capacity. Skull capacity may be an indicator of anything, or nothing.

Now, if they had evaluated brains, they may or may not have arrived at meaningful conclusions. Corpses aren't a rare commodity, after all. Fresh corpses are created every day.

Making an assumption that extra brain mass is required for good vision in poor lighting totally ignores the fact that almost all cats, as well as a number of other animals, have excellent night vision, but have brain masses that are a fraction of our own.

Re:MMMMMM. BRAINSSSSS! (3, Interesting)

fche (36607) | more than 3 years ago | (#36902568)

It must be quite a trick, estimating how those larger brains must have been structured, considering they're ... entirely decayed by now. Their paper http://rsbl.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/early/2011/07/12/rsbl.2011.0570.full [royalsocie...ishing.org] doesn't appear to substantiate it either. Where exactly did the BBC get that quote?

Re:MMMMMM. BRAINSSSSS! (2)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 3 years ago | (#36902686)

Best guess, they're likely taking existing brains (in today's humans) and scaling down to fir the skulls. Given that you can reconstruct *most* of the outer shape from the cranial cavity, it's not a bad initial assumption to make.

OTOH, while it's not too awful likely that a given 'duty' of a set of brain cells shifts all that radically, I do agree with you to an extent.

Re:MMMMMM. BRAINSSSSS! (1)

andydread (758754) | more than 3 years ago | (#36903278)

This should prove interesting for those with this mutation who end up being blind. As we know the parts of the brain that loses its stimuli is basically re-purposed for another task and if there is more of this matter to be re-purposed then it should be rather interesting.

Re:MMMMMM. BRAINSSSSS! (1)

fat bastard of doom (1187649) | more than 3 years ago | (#36903540)

TFA was down when I was trying to read.

Re:MMMMMM. BRAINSSSSS! (1)

NFN_NLN (633283) | more than 3 years ago | (#36904264)

This research would imply that the further south you live in the US the less intelligent you were. So I did a quick Google search for "dumb american southerners"... turns out there is strong anecdotal evidence! Where's my research grant.

Re:MMMMMM. BRAINSSSSS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36902494)

I wonder what the relevence is in regards to intelligence.

There's a constant mixing of populations as the people in colder climes develop bigger brains, giving them the intelligence to reason "fuck, it's cold here" and move somewhere warmer, displacing existing populations who are forced to move further from the equator and thus develop bigger brains...

Re:MMMMMM. BRAINSSSSS! (1, Funny)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 3 years ago | (#36902652)

displacing existing populations who are forced to move further from the equator and thus develop bigger brains

farther.

get packing.

Santa (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36902456)

So Santa Claus has the biggest brain of all ?

Re:Santa (1)

derGoldstein (1494129) | more than 3 years ago | (#36902726)

No, Santa has Rudolph.

Re:Santa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36903002)

That explains how he knows when we're naughty or nice.

Racists (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36902474)

This study just exposes the racism of the scientists. It says that people groups that evolved at higher latitudes (whites) have bigger brains.

Re:Racists (1)

Dynedain (141758) | more than 3 years ago | (#36902500)

Highest absolute latitudes. Meaning the farthest away from the equator in either direction.

Re:Racists (3, Insightful)

theheadlessrabbit (1022587) | more than 3 years ago | (#36902508)

Reality is not racist; it simply is.

Re:Racists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36902512)

If this had happened about 75 years ago, it would have been explicitly racist. Everybody believed in eugenics before the Nazis discredited it.
Where's the raw data? I'd be willing to bet the variation within each group is comparable to the claimed inter-group variation.

Re:Racists (5, Insightful)

derGoldstein (1494129) | more than 3 years ago | (#36902808)

People who live in hot climates have larger sinuses, and vice-versa, due to body heat regulation. Different people are different, period. Do we have to keep saying that everyone's the same because if they aren't then it's automatically offensive? If we're different, then we have to find out who's "better"?

This discussion is so old, and it skews science. It's the same with genders -- are we allowed to say that men and women have different thought patterns yet, or do we have to whisper? This PC bullshit always pisses me off.

Re:Racists (5, Informative)

quantaman (517394) | more than 3 years ago | (#36902528)

Your comment just suggests you didn't bother to RTFA.

"In the paper, we argue that having bigger brains doesn't mean that high-latitude humans are necessarily smarter. It's just they need bigger eyes and brains to be able to see well where they live."

They're saying that the extra cranial capacity is being used by the visual processing centres of the brain.

And to be honest, your comment isn't combating racism, it's reinforcing it.

Re:Racists (1)

fche (36607) | more than 3 years ago | (#36902700)

No, they are not saying what you say they are saying. As to bigger being smarter, "[not] necessarily" is not the same as "not".

Re:Racists (1)

quantaman (517394) | more than 3 years ago | (#36902954)

Hmm, I think it's accurate to say their position is that the brains are bigger, but this is explained by the larger vision processing centres (I didn't read the paper but I assume they checked that the increased volume was in these areas), and thus isn't evidence of increased intelligence overall.

I assume the original poster was thinking bigger -> smarter, therefore smarter -> racist scientists. Even if the scientists are incorrect in assuming this means no increase in intelligence it's certainly demonstrates there was no racist motive on the part of the scientists.

ps. Going by your nick I know you in real life, though I don't really associate this nick with my name so you may not be able to make the reverse connection (hints: several years ago, volleyball, curling).

Re:Racists (1)

fche (36607) | more than 3 years ago | (#36903330)

"I assume they checked that the increased volume was in these areas"

I didn't see discussion of that in the paper, FWIW. They filled empty skulls with plastic/wax pellets to measure this and that. No brains - no brain studies.

"it certainly demonstrates there was no racist motive on the part of the scientists."

Yeah; it'd be a politically-correct accusation, and it sounds like the BBC and/or the scientists are trying to preempt that.

"I know you in real life"

Heh, I don't even know myself in real life.

Re:Racists (2)

ivandavidoff (969036) | more than 3 years ago | (#36902544)

Eskimos live up there too.

Re:Racists (1)

NoobixCube (1133473) | more than 3 years ago | (#36902664)

It doesn't say smarter. In much the same way you need bigger muscles to lift a heavier object, you need a larger visual processing center in your brain to make sense of darker images, to extract detail from lower contrast situations, and low light conditions. I would assume, also, that it's an environmental adaptation; that is to say, anyone of any race, of any socioeconomic background, regardless of the intelligence or home-latitude of their most recent dozen ancestors, would experience the same boost in brain size, purely for processing visual information.

Re:Racists (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36902814)

Not really, I remember a study out a while back dealing with sweat glands that found a sort of inverse relation ship that those from closer to the equator had more sweat glands than those from further up north.

It could be racist, but more likely it's either an honest mistake or a reflection of reality. Adding racism here without any real cause is in and of itself racist.

Basements? (1)

The Grim Reefer2 (1195989) | more than 3 years ago | (#36902478)

have bigger eyes and bigger brains to cope with poor light during long winters and cloudy days,

So the decedents of Slashdotters could develop larger eyes and brains? Hmm.

Re:Basements? (2)

ivandavidoff (969036) | more than 3 years ago | (#36902552)

The ever-glowing dual monitors are like a tropical sun. So, no.

Re:Basements? (2)

derGoldstein (1494129) | more than 3 years ago | (#36902822)

I code in the dark.

Re:Basements? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36903140)

Yeah, it's pretty dark in Moms' basements.

Re:Basements? (1)

thrillseeker (518224) | more than 3 years ago | (#36903156)

So that's what the kids are calling it these days ...

Re:Basements? (1)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 3 years ago | (#36903138)

Only if we start breeding via mitosis.

55 skulls?!?! (2, Insightful)

snookerhog (1835110) | more than 3 years ago | (#36902482)

now there is a quality sample size that you can draw quality conclusions from. That is some experimental rigor to be proud of!

Re:55 skulls?!?! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36902536)

Depends on the variance of the measurements. If the variance is small, you can be certain that the probability that the assertion they're making is false is very small.

Re:55 skulls?!?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36902622)

now there is a quality sample size that you can draw quality conclusions from. That is some experimental rigor to be proud of!

I asked 3 people to evaluate your comment, and 66% agreed with you. Now your comment is independently verified!

Re:55 skulls?!?! (5, Informative)

SquareVoid (973740) | more than 3 years ago | (#36902722)

Not sure what statistical model they used, but there are plenty that allow for small sample sizes when certain conditions are met. Check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Student's_t-test [wikipedia.org]

Re:55 skulls?!?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36904356)

Student is useful. Add'ly, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fisher's_exact_test [wikipedia.org] will work on populations as small as 10 or so.

Re:55 skulls?!?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36902774)

No shit, right?

What about the other chakras? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36902514)

I have a gut feeling that they should be compared as well.

Correlation is not causation (3, Interesting)

pseudotensor (1416993) | more than 3 years ago | (#36902554)

Cold didn't have to *lead* to anything. Using the word "Led" in the title is misleading because it suggests a causal link. For all we know, having bigger brains made people leave hotter areas because they felt uncomfortable (I know I feel REALLY bad when it's hot, and I have a HUGE brain) or were more adventurous and sought to live in new areas.

This is why I always rooted for . . . (2)

StefanJ (88986) | more than 3 years ago | (#36902560)

. . . the Morlocks. They may be ugly anthropophages, but I figured they'd have to be smarter than the Eloi, and got to play with ancient machinery to boot.

Re:This is why I always rooted for . . . (1)

wall0159 (881759) | more than 3 years ago | (#36902828)

Who said anything about "smarter"? There is not an established concrete relationship between brain size and intelligence in humans.

In fact, FTFA:
"The Oxford University team said bigger brains did not make people smarter."

Re:This is why I always rooted for . . . (2)

Savantissimo (893682) | more than 3 years ago | (#36903246)

No, there is a relationship between cranial volume and intelligence. It can be confounded by several other factors, (e.g. hydrocephalus, white vs. gray matter, cortical area, body size) which weaken the correlation, but it is real.

Here's the first decent reference I could find: "In a meta-analysis McDaniel (2004) found an in vivo brain volume/IQ correlation of 0.33 based on 37 published studies (N= 1535)..."
http://abc102.wordpress.com/2011/02/17/brain-size-and-correlates-with-iq/ [wordpress.com]
Citing: http://www.govrel.vcu.edu//news/Releases/2005/june/McDaniel-Big%20Brain.pdf [vcu.edu]

But they just said it was sports. (2)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36902590)

But they just said it was due to sports [wired.com] .

So, which is it?

Re:But they just said it was sports. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36902824)

Winter sports you dolt!

Re:But they just said it was sports. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36903232)

It can't be both?

Re:But they just said it was sports. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36903806)

I read a similar article here:
http://www.onionsportsnetwork.com/articles/neurologists-implore-professional-athletes-to-wait,20501/

racist (1, Troll)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 3 years ago | (#36902666)

What an awful racist thing to say. Those of us with larger brains can clearly understand the implications of this, and it is pure racist. It must not be said. It doesn't matter that it is completely true.

Re:racist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36902714)

Now now. There's no need to "chimp out" here. And watch out for the flash mobs while you're at it. Sneaky and quick little bastards they are. Not all that bright either.

Obviously biased (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36902678)

This coming from the UK which is perpetually under cloud cover...

Beer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36902712)

Hops grow better in areas with short winter days and long summer days.

The lesson here is that the lord giveth and the lord taketh away.

Like to see corroboration... (2)

Unixnoteunuchs (990069) | more than 3 years ago | (#36902738)

... by peer review. Conclusion is remarkably reminiscent of "scientific" bases for racist conclusions so prevalent in the late 19th and early 20th century social sciences.

Re:Like to see corroboration... (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36902798)

The conclusion isn't necessarily any less reliable than any other peer reviewed paper, in fact I'd wager that this one is likely more reliable as a paper like this could easily end careers if the science isn't there.

This isn't any more racist than the observation that people from closer to the equator handle sunburn more effectively than those of us from the higher latitudes.

Re:Like to see corroboration... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36903144)

... by peer review. Conclusion is remarkably reminiscent of "scientific" bases for racist conclusions so prevalent in the late 19th and early 20th century social sciences.

There is a reason Africa is in the state it's in...

Re:Like to see corroboration... (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 3 years ago | (#36903358)

There is a reason Africa is in the state it's in...

Relatively good weather doesn't provide an environmental pressure to develop technologically earlier than colder climates?

So... (2)

dindinx (24418) | more than 3 years ago | (#36902756)

"Winter is coming" could really be a good news?

Surely this correlation has nothing to do with... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36902772)

The mundane realities of American politics? [wikipedia.org]

Alcoholism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36902860)

Any advantage in brain and eyesight for us high latitude dwellers would be negated by our propensity for alcoholism.

Re:Alcoholism (1)

denyingbelial (2014450) | more than 3 years ago | (#36903726)

And what if there was a case of causality there? Maybe alcoholism improves eyesight and increases brain capacity over many generations, and it has nothing to do with high altitudes and poor lighting!

Sound like I better get started :D

You know, I think we might have this all wrong. Maybe good eyesight and large brains causes mountains to sprout under our villages. I think we should try assembling a bunch of big-brained people with 20/20 vision and put them in a pit, as an experiment.

Re:Alcoholism (1)

codeAlDente (1643257) | more than 3 years ago | (#36903842)

Not so fast my friend. Humans are extraordinary in that they have the largest brain:body mass ratio of all life forms (as I recall). Alcohol makes you fat. Getting fat reduces your brain:body mass ratio. Gotta agree with anonymous coward here. Though I hear they smoke lizard dung in Africa.

Doesn't necessarily mean Northern countries are... (1)

brim4brim (2343300) | more than 3 years ago | (#36902868)

smarter. I think the evidence would support that gene diversity is the best way to ensure survival. *cough* says the man from Ireland *cough*

I think they've got it slightly wrong (1)

mat catastrophe (105256) | more than 3 years ago | (#36902894)

Probably the cold weather just led to a lot more cuddling. And, naturally the cuddling led to a lot more - you know - whoopee.

So, apparently sex is good for your brain.

Re:I think they've got it slightly wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36903010)

You're on to something here. Gotta go!

Re:I think they've got it slightly wrong (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#36903180)

So, apparently sex is good for your brain.

That would explain a lot of what happens around here.

Re:I think they've got it slightly wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36903542)

So for a good skull fuck [youtube.com] ya want to go way north or way south.

It's miniaturization, man! (2)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 3 years ago | (#36902950)

TFA is all wrong! People near the equator have the smaller next generation iBrains with better eye sockets that aren't available yet in the northern markets.

Haven't heard this one before... (0)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | more than 3 years ago | (#36902952)

Then again [wikipedia.org]

Re:Haven't heard this one before... (1)

DahGhostfacedFiddlah (470393) | more than 3 years ago | (#36903202)

Would you rather that science with "racist" results never be published?

Eskimo superiority (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36903204)

Eskimos, living in a region with one of the longest, darkest winters, should therefore have enormous eyes and humongous brains. So much for positive correlation.

The next step... (1)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 3 years ago | (#36903446)

...is to confirm the theory by searching for fossil chibis in Antarctica.

Hello Josef Mengele (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36903556)

Nazi anthropological studies all over again...(under a new prism of course)

smarts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36903666)

is that why slashdot users is more technically inclined? after all, it's usually cold and dark in mom's basement...

Hmm... (1)

Type44Q (1233630) | more than 3 years ago | (#36903750)

Does their study take into account the recent observation that us northern people are more likely to have Neanderthal DNA and that that could at least be part of the reason for larger brains?

Eskimo overlords (1)

wisebabo (638845) | more than 3 years ago | (#36903886)

I, for one, would like to welcome our super intelligent Eskimo overlords! (And troglodytes and blind people and habitual sunglass wearers and squinty eyed folk).

Why (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36903932)

te power!

If brain size == intelligence (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 3 years ago | (#36904000)

We'd have a lot of posters using flippers.

Blizzard North plug... (1)

user flynn (236683) | more than 3 years ago | (#36904076)

Yup. Blizzard North... you know what I mean, or perhaps I should say "you see what I mean", if you are from the land of long nights.

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