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Scientists Postulate Extinct Hominid with 150 IQ

pickens (49171) writes | more than 4 years ago

Earth 6

Hugh Pickens writes "Neuroscientists Gary Lynch and Richard Granger have an interesting article in Discover Magazine about the Boskops, an extinct hominid that had big eyes, child-like faces, and forebrains roughly 50% larger than modern man indicating they may have had an average intelligence of around 150, making them geniuses among Homo sapiens. The combination of a large cranium and immature face would look decidedly unusual to modern eyes, but not entirely unfamiliar. Such faces peer out from the covers of countless science fiction books and are often attached to “alien abductors” in movies. "Back there in the past, ten thousand years ago. The man of the future, with the big brain, the small teeth. He lived in Africa," wrote naturalist Loren Eiseley. "His brain was bigger than your brain” The history of evolutionary studies has been dogged by the almost irresistible idea that evolution leads to greater complexity, to animals that are more advanced than their predecessor, yet the existence of the Boskops argues otherwise — that humans with big brains, and perhaps great intelligence, occupied a substantial piece of southern Africa in the not very distant past, and that they eventually gave way to smaller-brained, possibly less advanced Homo sapiens—that is, ourselves. "With 30 percent larger brains than ours now, we can readily calculate that a population with a mean brain size of 1,750 cc would be expected to have an average IQ of 149," write Lynch and Granger. But why did they go extinct? "Maybe all that thoughtfulness was of no particular survival value in 10,000 BC. Lacking the external hard drive of a literate society, the Boskops were unable to exploit the vast potential locked up in their expanded cortex," write Lynch and Granger. "They were born just a few millennia too soon.""

6 comments

Not revolutionary news (1)

Token_Internet_Girl (1131287) | more than 4 years ago | (#30601492)

According to this article, the "Boskops" have been known about for decades. This author is simply revisiting a forgotten page in human evolution. While its a fascinating read, I wouldn't call it front page Slashdot material.

Discredited hypothesis (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 4 years ago | (#30604210)

Actually, the idea of a "Boskop race" is long discredited. It occurred by actively selecting the larger skulls from the available set, and misclassifying them as a distinct population. Cranium size distributions are similar in South Africa, Europe, and China for the period in question, and skulls of that era with rather large crania can be found in all regions. Cranium size distributions are similar between those regions today also, but the distributions have shifted to slightly smaller sizes than they were around 10000 BCE (blame agriculture & civilization). http://johnhawks.net/weblog/reviews/brain/paleo/lynch-granger-big-brain-boskops-2008.html [johnhawks.net]

10,000BCE (1)

PinkyGigglebrain (730753) | more than 4 years ago | (#30601890)

Isn't that about the time that some researchers put the building of the Sphinx?

Not saying there is a connection but ...

I hope someone has called Dr.Jackson.

This is speculative history (1)

dirkdodgers (1642627) | more than 4 years ago | (#30602838)

Unfortunately this is not science. There is no new discovery here. This is a piece of speculative history by scientists who are not experts in the field, playing fast and loose with the data in the field.

A leap foward?! possibly (1)

tech_freak'n_stuff (1512491) | more than 4 years ago | (#30609064)

this could be a leap forward:

"Neuroscientists Gary Lynch and Richard Granger have an interesting article in Discover Magazine about the Boskops, an extinct hominid that had big eyes, child-like faces, and forebrains roughly 50% larger than modern man indicating they may have had an average intelligence of around 150, making them geniuses among Homo sapiens. The combination of a large cranium and immature face would look decidedly unusual to modern eyes, but not entirely unfamiliar. Such faces peer out from the covers of countless science fiction books and are often attached to “alien abductors” in movies. "Back there in the past, ten thousand years ago. The man of the future, with the big brain, the small teeth. He lived in Africa," wrote naturalist Loren Eiseley. "His brain was bigger than your brain” The history of evolutionary studies has been dogged by the almost irresistible idea that evolution leads to greater complexity, to animals that are more advanced than their predecessor, yet the existence of the Boskops argues otherwise — that humans with big brains, and perhaps great intelligence, occupied a substantial piece of southern Africa in the not very distant past, and that they eventually gave way to smaller-brained, possibly less advanced Homo sapiens—that is, ourselves. "With 30 percent larger brains than ours now, we can readily calculate that a population with a mean brain size of 1,750 cc would be expected to have an average IQ of 149," write Lynch and Granger. But why did they go extinct? "Maybe all that thoughtfulness was of no particular survival value in 10,000 BC. Lacking the external hard drive of a literate society, the Boskops were unable to exploit the vast potential locked up in their expanded cortex," write Lynch and Granger. "They were born just a few millennia too soon.""

see? it could be the "missing link", the "abomnable snowman" or a "yeti", but no; it's either a kind of caveman early homosapien, sorry you dedecated religious types who think that evolution is just a load of flim-flam

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