Evolution of the human brain: design without a designer.

Research output: Chapter in book/volumeChapterScientificpeer-review


The evolutionary expansion of the brain is among the most distinctive morphological features of mammals. During the past decades, considerable progress has been made in explaining brain evolution in terms of physical and adaptive principles. The objective of this chapter is to present current perspectives on primate brain evolution, especially in humans, and to examine some of the design principles and operational modes that underlie the brain's information processing capacity. It is shown that local wiring and cortical folding is a simple design principle that enables brains to be more compact and faster with increasing size. Scaling studies and computational models, furthermore, indicate that the functional capacity of the human brain is inherently constrained by its neural architecture and signal processing capacity and that with our brain we have nearly reached the physical limits and evolutionary potential of a neural-based system.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEvolution of Nervous Systems
Subtitle of host publicationThe evolution of the human brain: apes and other ancestors.
EditorsJohn Kaas
PublisherElsevier B.V.
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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