Eating fruits led to bigger, powerful brain
PARIS: Humans likely developed large and powerful brains, researchers said on Monday, with the help of what is today the simplest of snacks: fruit.
Eating fruit was a key step up from the most basic of foodstuffs, such as leaves, and provided the energy needed to grow bulkier brains, the scientists said.
“That’s how we got these huge brains,” said the study’s author Alex Decasien, a researcher at New York University.
“We have blown up the quality of our food we are eating.”
The study published in Nature Ecology & Evolution looked at the staple foods of more than 140 species of primates, and assumed their diets haven’t changed much over the course of recent evolution.
According to the research, the animals which feasted on fruit had brains that were about 25 per cent bigger than those filling their bellies with leaves.
Decasien said the challenges of living in a group could be part of getting smarter, but found no link between the complexity of primates’ social lives and the size of their grey matter.
What did correlate strongly with brain size was eating fruit.
Foods such as fruit contain more energy than leaves, thus creating the additional fuel needed to evolve a bigger brain.
At the same time, remembering which plants produce fruit, where they are, and how to break them open could also help a primate grow a bigger brain. AFP