The Lives of the Brain: Human Evolution and the Organ of Mind

The Lives of the Brain Human Evolution and the Organ of Mind Though we have other distinguishing characteristics walking on two legs for instance and relative hairlessness the brain and the behavior it produces are what truly set us apart from the other ape

  • Title: The Lives of the Brain: Human Evolution and the Organ of Mind
  • Author: John S. Allen
  • ISBN: 9780674035348
  • Page: 239
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Though we have other distinguishing characteristics walking on two legs, for instance, and relative hairlessness , the brain and the behavior it produces are what truly set us apart from the other apes and primates And how this three pound organ composed of water, fat, and protein turned a mammal species into the dominant animal on earth today is the story John S AllenThough we have other distinguishing characteristics walking on two legs, for instance, and relative hairlessness , the brain and the behavior it produces are what truly set us apart from the other apes and primates And how this three pound organ composed of water, fat, and protein turned a mammal species into the dominant animal on earth today is the story John S Allen seeks to tell.Adopting what he calls a bottom up approach to the evolution of human behavior, Allen considers the brain as a biological organ a collection of genes, cells, and tissues that grows, eats, and ages, and is subject to the direct effects of natural selection and the phylogenetic constraints of its ancestry An exploration of the evolution of this critical organ based on recent work in paleo anthropology, brain anatomy and neuroimaging, molecular genetics, life history theory, and related fields, his book shows us the brain as a product of the contexts in which it evolved phylogenetic, somatic, genetic, ecological, demographic, and ultimately, cultural linguistic Throughout, Allen focuses on the foundations of brain evolution rather than the evolution of behavior or cognition This perspective demonstrates how, just as some aspects of our behavior emerge in unexpected ways from the development of certain cognitive capacities, a nuanced understanding of behavioral evolution might develop from a clearer picture of brain evolution.

    • The Lives of the Brain: Human Evolution and the Organ of Mind « John S. Allen
      239 John S. Allen
    • thumbnail Title: The Lives of the Brain: Human Evolution and the Organ of Mind « John S. Allen
      Posted by:John S. Allen
      Published :2019-08-09T02:44:01+00:00

    About " John S. Allen "

  • John S. Allen

    Librarian Note There is than one author in the database with this name.

  • 233 Comments

  • I read scattered chapters, interested mainly by the neurobiological perspective on language use and development. Unfortunately, Allen's perspective in the last chapters shifts from an engaged and microscopic view to a more theoretical, macroscopic survey of the literature on language, brains, and minds; not the most innovative work, although well-described and thoroughly researched, what was lacking was the clear intervention of Allen himself as the locus of these arguments. Those things aside, [...]


  • Rather academic and moves in each chapter from an overview to highly specific. Fascinating though with some interesting tidbits. Don't get old. The brain starts to shrink at the age of 60 and an octogenarian brain is smaller than that of a 2 year old. And yes, size matters. Humans are the only primates who need assistance in childbirth, and the only primates whose babies are born facing the back of the body. This is due to bipedality and the need of the female pelvis to carry the weight of the t [...]


  • Good book, but a bit over my head. If you don't know a gyrus from a sulcus, don't expect Allen to slow down to explain it to you. Ditto for numerous terms and concepts from all of the many disciplines he draws from to give his overview of the state of the art of knowledge about the evolution of the human brain. But if you're game for a mental stretch, or if you're already up on this field of study, this is a great way to get the lay of the land.


  • I had to read this book for an Evolution of the Human Brain class, and it was pretty interesting. Some of it was over my head, but I had taken a class before on the human brain, so I knew most of the terms, and if there was one I didn't, I was able to ask my boyfriend who's a neuroscience major. Some interesting theories, and worth reading if you have an interest in brains and how they evolved into the way they are today.




  • Post Your Comment Here

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *