Natural selection in brain evolution of early hominids

Abstract

Directional effect of natural selection on the arrangement of brain of anthropoids and man is reviewed. It is demonstrated that the evolution of the human nervous system is an integrated result of several multidirectional processes. At the early stages of the evolution of primates, the general biological principles of survival of the fittest, i.e., natural selection of the most adapted variants of the brain structure prevailed. During the period of hominid specialization, natural selection led to the formation of the neocortical control of voluntary movements, memory, and mental associations. At later stages of human morphological evolution, biological mechanisms of natural selection of the brain arrangement were replaced by social mechanisms. This process initiated hominid migrations and the growth of the brain size and individual variability in human ancestors. A model of cerebral sorting is proposed to explain the mechanisms of multidirectional selection leading to an increase in brain size of early hominids.

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Saveliev, S.V. Natural selection in brain evolution of early hominids. Paleontol. J. 44, 1589–1597 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1134/S0031030110120130

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Keywords

  • natural selection
  • brain
  • evolution
  • early hominids