Big Brains? So What.

Discover reviews a new book that proves Devo was right – big brains aren’t an evolutionary advantage. The book, called Big Brains, looks at the Boskops, a kind of human who died out 30,000 years ago despite being, in all likelihood, 30 percent smarter than us:

That’s what fascinates psychiatrist Gary Lynch and cognitive scientist Richard Granger. “Just as we’re smarter than apes, they were probably smarter than us,” they speculate. More insightful and self-reflective than modern humans, with fantastic memories and a penchant for dreaming, the Boskops may have had “an internal mental life literally beyond anything we can imagine.”

The cerebral boskops (Afrikaans for “bush-heads”) remind me of similar findings about sensitive, smart Neanderthals with their love of glam rock and opera. The real brutal cavemen of prehistory were probably us.