I like to watch a lot of documentaries, and I like to talk a fair amount of philosophy. Conjecture, theory, logic, all make for great and interesting conversations. More interesting than most any other form of conversation, in my opinion.
I have seen documentaries that allege that mankind's brain got larger after he started eating meat; apparently the concentrated protein is necessary for the development of larger brains. Without eating meat, we'd all have remained forever living in trees or caves, unable to make fire or use tools. No boomerangs, even.
Now, then again, I had a very interesting talk with a friend of mine who refutes this logic. Of course, the argument went (and I agree with this part), there's no way that we might be able to tell that mankind's brain grew before eating meat, or after. Like I say: we can agree to this part. It could be, on the one hand, that some hominid somewhere started eating meat, and his or her offspring came along a bit smarter, as did the next generation and thereafter again.
OR, so my friend is thinking, eating meat required skills that we hadn't had before (ie: hunting, breaking open bones, spooning chili on the bun, and such). Our brains began to get larger because we had started to figure out how to obtain meat. Exercising one's brain leads to larger, more well developed brains.
I have a slightly different thought. I'm not all together convinced that eating meat has anything to do with whether our brains grew large or not. I think this because if we accept the premise that eating meat or catching meat has anything to do with the size of our brains, and we couldn't have gotten these large brains without either eating or catching meat, well, I would think that sharks and alligators would be ruling the world right now.
These critters have been roaming this world since long before the dinosaurs...well over 200 Million years (according to birth certificates)...eating nothing but meat and license plates. In fact sharks? Sharks have been eating nothing but fish, which (they tell me) is brain food.
I'm thinking that some other evolutionary pressure generated the big brains. Of course, I *could* be wrong, as I don't think that I've burned through my quota of wrong today.
- I'm a life-long New Englander, father of 4 challenging kids (I know: I'm supposed to say "wonderful", but while that'd be true, technically speaking, it'd also be misleading), and fortunate husband to my favorite wife of more than 20 years. I've got over 20 years experience breaking things as a test engineer, quality engineer, reliability engineer, and most recently (and most enjoyably) a Product Safety / EMC Compliance Engineer. In the photo, I'm on the left.