Creativity, the Brain, and Evolution

Psychologists have studied creativity for decades, developing a variety of tests to assess creativity and creative potential in individuals. Using these tests to guide them, cognitive neuroscientists are now using sophisticated neuroimaging tools to assess the neuroanatomical differences between more-creative and less-creative individuals, with the hopes of developing an understanding of creativity from the bottom-up, so to speak.

Was Seafood Brain Food in Human Evolution?

Aquatic foods were probably not necessary to make a bigger brain, but our evolution was undoubtedly abetted by our ancestors' willingness to try new foods, including those found near and under water. 

The Latest on the Littlest Brains in Human Evolution

Last month (October 2009), Science magazine devoted an entire extraordinary issue to what may be our oldest ancestor: Ardipithecus ramidus. Ardipithecus ramidus, with its small cranial capacity and mix of primitive and derived traits, sits about where it should on the hominid family tree, in both time and space. The same cannot be said for the fossil known as the "Hobbit" (LB1), representing a putative new species, Homo floresiensis. Separated by almost 4 million years and thousands of miles, what do these species tell us about human brain evolution?

A Tooth's Eye View of Brain Evolution

Like other soft tissues of the body, brains don't generally fossilize. In contrast to brains, teeth are the part (or parts) of the body that are most likely to become fossils. They are very hard, and not particularly appetizing to predators or scavengers. Is it possible that fossilized teeth can tell us something about brain evolution? Strangely enough, the answer to that question appears to be "yes." 

To Map Is Human

Scientists employ extraordinary imaging technologies, such as functional magnetic resonance imaging, combined with the most sophisticated kinds of analytical software, run on ever-more-powerful computers, to map just how thoughts, feelings, and other aspects of human cognition are produced and rendered in the human brain. But when did the map-making urge begin? Certainly, there is quite literally hard evidence of map-making dating back to the Upper Paleolithic of Europe.