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Could small guts and diet be the result of a bigger brain?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 06, 2013 at 5:28 PM

I came across this study the other day and it got me thinking that perhaps my understanding of brain growth may be incorrect.

At a lab in Sweden Alexander Kotrschal mated guppies with larger and smaller brains together, and after two generations the guppies had an increase in brain size of about 9% in the larger brained group. What was interesting was the fact that as a result of larger brains the fish developed smaller guts. Considering that we seem to be hardwired to seek out more intelligent mates, could our own increased brain size be the result of big brains mating with big brains and not related to diet as much as I've thought?

http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2013/01/03/scientists-breed-smarter-fish-but-reveal-the-costs-of-big-brains/

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-scientific-fundamentalist/200903/beautiful-people-are-more-intelligent-i I would think there would be a great number of exceptions to this.

7a6529ea25b655132fe58d793f95547a

(2030)

on April 07, 2013
at 02:13 AM

Great, thanks for your response nursling. So brain growth within a species can be caused by different factors not just one.

77188106a9c27a22ad47d0ef7318de7a

(922)

on April 07, 2013
at 12:09 AM

fish contains both DHA and AA, red meat contains more AA but some DHA.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on April 06, 2013
at 06:30 PM

What were the sources of DHA and AA in paleo man's diet? You can relate it to modern day foods for convenience sake.

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76211ec5301087de2588cfe3d6bccba9

(1178)

on April 06, 2013
at 05:42 PM

No. Humans' digestive tracts shrank as a result of a change in diet where we ate more nutrient dense animal foods (especially seafoods) and less digestively-costly plant foods. This increase in nutrition also led to the development of a larger brain. The research may be correct in the guppies' case where more developmental energy was rerouted to brain development at the expense of the digestive tract, but in the case of humans, we were able to maintain both a complex brain and efficient digestive tract because we had both docosahexanoic acid and arachnidonic acid available in our diets, the former as a brain building fat and the latter as a vascular network building fat. So we got the best of both worlds: nutrients for a strong brain and body.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on April 06, 2013
at 06:30 PM

What were the sources of DHA and AA in paleo man's diet? You can relate it to modern day foods for convenience sake.

77188106a9c27a22ad47d0ef7318de7a

(922)

on April 07, 2013
at 12:09 AM

fish contains both DHA and AA, red meat contains more AA but some DHA.

7a6529ea25b655132fe58d793f95547a

(2030)

on April 07, 2013
at 02:13 AM

Great, thanks for your response nursling. So brain growth within a species can be caused by different factors not just one.

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