Is The Human Brain So Much More Advanced? Essay

1435 Words Sep 8th, 2015 null Page
The brain weighs approximately three pounds yet is responsible for all the functions of both the human mind and body. All vertebrates, and the majority of invertebrates, have a brain. However, some ‘primitive’ animals such as jellyfishes and starfishes have a decentralized nervous system without a brain, while sponges lack any nervous system at all. Michio Kaku, a world renowned physicist and scientific communicator, comments that “The human brain has 100 billion neurons, each neuron connected to 10 thousand other neurons. Sitting on your shoulders is the most complicated object in the known universe.” So why is the human brain so much more advanced? This is the question that I have chosen to tackle in my EPQ and I will argue that the reason for the complexity of the human brain can be found throughout its evolutionary history.

At the simplest level, it can be argued that our brain is made up of three distinct parts each representing a distinct evolutionary stratum that has formed upon the older layer before it. This is known as the Triune Brain theory and was put forward by neurologist Paul Maclean in the 1960s. He hypothesised that as the needs of animals advanced over time due to changing circumstances, a new level of complexity was added to the brain in order to cope with the more demanding conditions. As each new brain evolved, the older brain was retained for its specialized functions, and the new brain simply formed around it.
Regarding the human brain, MacLean…

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