Diet and Brain Development

The relationship between diet and brain development are key to the evolution of hominids. Larger brains mean a greater capacity for thought. The ability to think and work out problems led to the development of tools and of language that distinguish hominids from primates and other organisms. With language, individuals are able to communicate with one another and work cooperatively in a way that gives them an advantage over solitary organisms. The development of a community and a society results in a complex culture with rituals for burial and forms of expression like art that help to distinguish the individual in a group. Larger brains and a greater capacity for thought also mean a prolonged period of brain development during which skills must be passed from more knowledgeable individuals to those still developing. This period, known as childhood, is one during which individuals are not capable of caring sole for themselves and it is the role of fully developed individuals to instill wisdom upon these young individuals while protecting them and providing the necessary elements that are key to their survival. The development of larger brains extended this period of childhood and makes hominid childhood one of the longest of any organisms.
The development of larger brains go hand in hand with diet because it is nutrition that allows for the development of larger brains and larger brains that provide the capacity to find better forms of nutrition. The relationship between diet and brain development wasfirst examined in Austalopithecenes.Australopithecenes can be divided into two subspecies known as robust and gracile. The gracile Australopithecenes were similar in body and brain size to the robust Austalopithecenes. They, however, had large grinding teeth, even larger than those of the robust. The most likely inhabited woodland areas and ate nuts and roots. While similar in brain size to the gracile, robust Australopithecene…

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