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 Discuss evolutionary factors involved in the development of human intelligence (8+16 marks)

There is strong evidence to suggest that our human intelligence is a result of our evolution through natural selection. Darwin proposed the idea that natural selection has increased our intelligence in order to survive and reproduce, as a result, intelligence can be seen as a result of our evolutionary path. Within historic tribes, those who could provide food for their family could reproduce, and as providing food required high levels intelligence, therefore it seems logical that intelligence has evolved through natural selection.

Evidence to suggest that evolution has developed our intelligence can be found in the encephalisation quotient. This shows how large an animal’s brain is in accordance to their body. An animal with an EQ of 1 will have a brain proportionate to the size of their body. Our EQ is 7, the highest of the animal kingdom. Apes, our closest animal relatives, which evidence suggests we evolved from, have an EQ of 2.5, a third of the humans. This suggests that human intelligence has evolved, as our brain is 7 times the size it should be in proportion to our body. This suggests that generational genetic mutations have allowed for the growth of the human brain. The evidence does support the idea that our intelligence has evolved through natural selection.

Brain size can be discussed further as there is a link between brain sizes and intelligence. In addition, there is a link between ecological demands and brain sizes, suggesting that through evolution, our brain has increased in size and human intelligence has increased. This claim can be explained further by using the ‘out of Africa study’. The study found that through ecological demands, those who travelled further from Africa (the origin of humans) developed an increase of intelligence and a larger brain size. It has been found that Asians have the largest brains, and as they will have travelled the furthest out of Africa, it suggests there is a link between ecological demands and intelligence. As…


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