I was taught through grade school, high school, and college; increasing brain capacity was evidence of human evolution. They would show pictures of ape like creatures with small skulls and small brains leading up to the more human like creatures with larger skulls and bigger brains. Touring the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, IL, a few years ago, I noticed that the teaching hasn’t changed.
As I studied science, and the limitations of science, I discovered this was primarily speculation. There hasn’t been any scientific evidence for Darwinian evolution, or what is sometimes termed macro-evolution. We do see the Biblical and scientific evidence for a “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” microevolution. All creatures are pre-programmed with a mind-boggling complex and orderly genetic data and networking system that enables them to adapt to their surroundings (one that even Bill Gates is envious of). Bacteria are an excellent example of this observational fact. Bacteria always stay bacteria, but they do exhibit the great ability to “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth,” by being able to survive in their changing environments. With these facts in mind, I began to study the variations within living apes and their skulls along with the variations in humans and their skulls.
Apes today have a variance of skulls and brain sizes as follows: the bonobo has a brain size which ranges from 326-356 cc; the chimp has a brain size of 350-386 cc; the orangutan from 337-437, and the gorilla has a brain size ranging from 455-525 cc.
Humans also have a huge range and variation in skulls and brain sizes. Some mentally retarded adults have a brain size of about 511-519 cc.(1) http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/tj/v4/n1/cranial
Pygmies have a brain capacity about half of the larger human adult, and so would be about 600-700 cc.
There is a report of a man with a cranial capacity of only 624 cc. His name was Daniel Lyon and he displayed no mental or physical abnormalities.(2) http://creation.com/turkana-boy-getting-past-the-propaganda
Most of the larger human brain sizes range from 950 to 2,200 cc and with a mean cranial capacity of around 1,370cc.(3) http://topics.info.com/Whose-brain-is-larger-Neanderthal-man-or-modern-man_2699
There are people today who live in Australia, Indonesia, and Africa who have Homo erectus like skulls, yet they look perfectly human.(4) http://creation.com/turkana-boy-getting-past-the-propaganda; http://creation.com/how-different-is-the-cranial-vault-thickness-of-homo-erectus-from-modern-man
Below is a common illustration of increasing brain sizes that attempts to show evidence of human evolution. But this is just speculation. A scientist can make a similar illustration using creatures which exist today. Starting with the bonobo with 326-356 cc then evolves into the chimps with a brain size of 350-386 cc. The next step in this evolutionary scenario is the orangutan with 337-437 cc and then finally the gorilla with the brain capacity of 455-525 cc. This brings us to the end of the ape evolution. We do have to remember that species within a kind, or family, are consistently going extinct, so in the past we would have had many more apes to pick from… like the Australopithecines.
In comparing the variations of human skulls we find around the world today, along with their increasing brain capacities, we can also make an evolutionary timeline. Starting with the mentally handicapped with brain capacities as low as 511-519 cc, and then increasing to the pygmies with 600-700 cc. Evolving upward until we arrive at the larger humans with more consistent brain sizes ranging from 950 to 2,200 cc and with a mean cranial capacity of 1,350-1,370 cc.
Using the variety of apes and humans alive today, we can make a typical textbook illustration that shows the supposed evolution of man’s cranial capacities and we would be 100% wrong. The advantage we have from studying living organism is that we not only have the hard anatomy to study, but the soft anatomy as well. With the abundance of scientific research and evidence, we only observe speciation within the ape kind and the human kind, but no evidence of Darwinian evolution.
One of the disadvantages of using fossils is most, if not all, of the soft tissue is missing. So the vast amount of information is missing, thus leading to increased speculation and the mixing of distinct kinds into an evolutionary jumbled mess.
In the fossil record, we find the human brain capacity ranging from around 900cc on up. Since humans were made on day six of the creation week, all human variations would live within a few thousand years. So scientists should find some humans with small brains (Homo erectus) and some with bigger brains (Neanderthal). What is interesting is that we find the same thing today. Some people have small brains and some people have big brains. Some people have Homo erectus like skulls and some do not. Not much has changed over the years.
What makes matters worse for evolutionary theory is the research done by John Hawks, an anthropologist from the University of Wisconsin, that states, “And it’s also clear the brain has been shrinking.”(5) http://discovermagazine.com/2010/sep/25-modern-humans-smart-why-brain-shrinking#.UvaltrQk-So
Another comment from the same article stated, “If our brain keeps dwindling at that rate over the next 20,000 years, it will start to approach the size of that found in Homo erectus, a relative that lived half a million years ago and had a brain volume of only 1,100 cc.” (6) http://discovermagazine.com/2010/sep/25-modern-humans-smart-why-brain-shrinking#.UvaltrQk-So
It appears that human evolution has peaked in the Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon man, and we are now in a process of devolution according to these findings.
But the good news is found in an article from Answers in Genesis: “Because man’s cranial capacity is so variable today, it has been shown that there is very little relationship between cranial capacity and human intelligence.”(7) http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/tj/v4/n1/cranial
The bottom line is this, different brain sizes and skull shapes have nothing to do with Darwinian evolution or increasing intelligence. We exhibit different brain sizes and skull shapes in our past and we still have them today. As we study the evidence today, as well as in the fossil record, we discover we are not all in the same family. The apes are in the ape family, or kind, and the humans are in the human family, or kind, and each family has a wide range of variation. God is a very interesting and fascinating God, by creating a complex and orderly genetic information system that enables a huge, and fantastic, variance within each kind, and with all this He clearly displays His glory.
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