Can evolution produce smarter animals than we do

Evolution: Are Humans Becoming Smarter?

From hand ax to wheel to rocket technology - intelligent problem solutions and strategies are the recipe for success of our species. But how does it go on - has humans now reached a final stage of evolution in the development of their intelligence? Or does it continue to increase until we mutate into water-headed beings with super brains? Christian B. asked us this question. Thanks a lot for this!

Wolfgang Enard from the Chair of Anthropology and Human Genetics at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich knows the answer: “Genetic changes continue to happen with every new generation, as they have always done. Some of these can also affect intelligence. But for these to prevail, they have to have an advantage over thousands of generations, that is, lead to more offspring, ”explains Enard.

It is precisely this principle that created the complex intelligence of humans in the first place: In decisive phases of human development history, the clever ones had clear advantages in the struggle for survival and were able to produce more offspring compared to their somewhat simpler conspecifics. They passed on their cunning disposition to them and so the minds of our ancestors became more and more sharp and complex over many generations. So finally a being came into being that at some point began to look questioningly at itself. One day it gave itself the name Homo Sapiens, translated: "the knowing man".

Is man becoming more and more of a head being?

“It is difficult to predict, especially when it comes to the future,” says Enard. A further increase in intelligence is by no means a natural development direction: “I think it is rather unlikely that higher intelligence will consistently bring an advantage over the next few thousand years. Rather, the changing and different cultural influences determine the number of offspring, ”explains Enard.

At the moment there is no evidence of a connection between intelligence and abundant offspring. Whether human intelligence is an evolutionarily successful invention at all remains to be seen anyway: “For evolutionary standards, highly developed intelligence is still very young at around 200,000 years. To be considered successful, it would have to last a few million years, ”says the anthropologist.

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© Wissenschaft.de - Martin Vieweg / dapd
November 26, 2016