Why Are You So Smart? Thank Your Mom & Your Difficult Birth – Facts So Romantic

A reconstructed skeleton of Lucy, the famous human ancestor. By 3.2 million years ago, Australopithecines were walking upright, imposing strict limits on the size of the female pelvis.Cleveland Museum of Natural History

Looking around our planet today, it’s hard not to be struck by humanity’s uniqueness. We are the only species around that writes books, runs experiments, and builds skyscrapers. Our intelligence must have also been useful when we were evolving—presumably it helped us to be better hunters and avoid being hunted ourselves, for instance. Perhaps even more importantly, our growing intelligence enabled early humans to compete with each other: We evolved to be intelligent to keep up with everybody else evolving to be intelligent. Smarter people are more attractive to others, and are better at jockeying for status within complex social groups. It is well-known that humans underwent an intelligence arms race that resulted in a rapid growth in cognitive ability. What is less well-known is how the need for women to be able to walk and run helped this boom in smarts.

A lot of our growth in intelligence is due to an increase in brain size. Even when looking at the differences between one person and another,…
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