Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Is Darwin still relevant? Advanced human brain breaks evolutionary rules

Henry A. Nasrallah, MD
, Editor-in-Chief

You may have noticed the buzz about Charles Darwin in the news: 2009 marks the 200th anniversary of his birth and the 150th anniversary of his monumental description of evolution in On the Origin of Species. Celebrations are scheduled around the world to honor the scientist who coined the phrase “natural selection” to explain the heritable process by which adaptive evolution occurs.

But is Darwin’s theory of evolution still relevant? The “game-changer” that is transforming evolution is the genetic mutation that led to dramatic growth in the primate cortex—especially the frontal lobe—culminating in the emergence of Homo sapiens. The overdeveloped brain that has helped our species adapt and survive may be transforming us into predators of all other species and a hazard to our planet.

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