The evolution of the human brain and cognitive ability is one of the central themes of physical/biological anthropology. This book discusses the emergence of human cognition at a conceptual level, describing it as a process of long adaptive stasis interrupted by short periods of cognitive advance. These advances were not linear and directed, but were acquired indirectly as part of changing human behaviors, in other words through the process of exaptation (acquisition of a function for which it was not originally selected). Based on studies of the modem human brain, certain prerequisites were needed for the development of the early brain and associated cognitive advances. This book documents the energy and nutrient constraints of the modern brain, highlighting the significant role of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFA) in brain development and maintenance. Crawford provides further emphasis for the role of essential fatty acids, in particular DHA, in brain development, by discussing the evolution of the eye and neural systems.
This is an ideal book for Graduate students, post docs, research scientists in Physical/Biological Anthropology, Human Biology, Archaeology, Nutrition, Cognitive Science, Neurosciences. It is also an excellent selection for a grad student discussion seminar.
Keywords: evolution of cognitive ability, physical anthropology, biological anthropology, human biology, cognitive science, neuroscience, the human brain, adaptive stasis, long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, LC-PUFA