The Brain as a Heat Source

We’ve talked about why brains got bigger with time, but the Neanderthals stood out as an outlier and needed further research and explanation. We’ve also shown the benefits of larger heads in sports, but we never really answered the question: how did they get this way?


Neanderthals heads were bigger. “Neanderthal populations in Europe endured many environmental changes, including large shifts in climate between glacial and interglacial conditions, while living in a habitat that was colder overall than settings where most other hominin species lived. Some of the environmental shifts they endured involved rapid swings between cold and warm climate.”

Other ancient men’s heads were smaller, and were hairier. If the brain is a heat source, these other ancient men need additional heat to survive.

Races of people in cold environments have larger heads [and smaller eyes].

People in warmer climates typically have smaller heads. And we’ve theorized about the strengths and weaknesses of each of these qualities.  PMJmLlySETHjUawr9jk4xy2wC3R4PTBIFCVjXIq68yo.png

If the brain is a heat source, that would explain all of these cases. Colder environments need more heat, and hot environments need less. Further, over thousands of years, the climate would naturally select some of the distinguishing qualities of these races.



Eye Whites: A Big Human Advantage

Questions Answered: Why do babies need naps? Why do Chinese people have folds over their eyes? What is the evolutionary purpose of the whites of our eyes? Why do we squint?

Do the eyes cool the brain? If they did, it would explain everything. The smaller brain that would tend to overheat, would have an extra heat sink. The larger brain, prone get too cool, would have a smaller cooling mechanism.

Are Asian eyes smaller? Not exactly. Their optic discs are larger. But they have a fold on their eyelid, which, to me, would lower the surface area on the outside air and cooling function if the eyes. How would our theory explain the purpose of this fold? Because they have larger brains, they have potential for lower entropy. Since their eyes cannot change size, their bodies do what they can to adapt.

Babies have this fold. Babies have the biggest head in proportion to their bodies. And coincidentally, birds lose a similar fold when exposed to 24-hour light for a long enough period.

Yes, the eyes cool the brain. But not even on the same order of magnitude of sleep. The purpose of the whites of the eyes is literally to cool [which explains the color]. The magnitude of this cooling is on par with the stress of the light in the first place. So the net effect of the stress+cooling is the important part. If the brain is large and cool, smaller eyes trend the brain entropy positive. If the brain is small and hot, the net effect of the eyes would be negative.

Squints do not change the pupils. They block out the whites of the eyes. And the pupils do change to adapt to changing light as well. Pupil dilation does not change the surface area of the eye.

So why would you squint when you walk outside? Well, if the temperature outside is warmer than your body, a squint would actually cool your brain. The lower the surface area on the hotter outdoor air, the cooler your brain can get.

If it’s cold, a squint would do the opposite. My minimizing surface area exposed to the cold air, the eye adapts by doing what it can to warm the brain: squints.

Humans are the only among 633 species of primates with eye whites. What is our advantage over the animal kingdom? Thought. The eye whites or sclera allows humans to think more and faster than any other being on the planet. 

Why do babies need naps? And why does that nap schedule evolve?Their heads are growing, but their eye size stays fixed. They have big heads relative to their bodies, and big eyes relative to their heads. But their heads are still small in comparison to everyone else. Meaning less total stress can accumulate before a nap. But bigger eyes (relative to head size) allow the brain to operate at a higher energy level. Noses are smallest, so it is essential that the eyes are biggest.

Therefore, the purpose of the whites of your eyes is to cool your brain. The eye is a beautiful and perfect equilibrium device, giving humans a distinct thought advantage over the rest of the animal kingdom.



The Case for the Slouch

It’s something that develops with time. We usually say it’s because you slump in front of a computer all day. Or you’re always hunched over at your desk. Essentially, we devolve based on our habits.

Here’s a different take on it: Since you probably know by now that I think that high blood pressure starts in the brain, people start to slouch when they get older [typically]. When you get older, you start to worry about dying. And when you start to worry about dying, you cling to the best metric we have to determine longevity: blood pressure. So you do whatever you can, take whatever the doctor prescribes to get that number as low as possible. And guess what: it works. Your blood pressure is just as good as a seventeen-year-old boy.

One problem, in your shotgun approach to lower your blood pressure, you cooled your brain off. With a cooler brain, time will fly by much faster, and you’ll have to press to keep up with your normal workload.

But how could you make the same amount of decisions in a day with a cooler brain? You restrict airflow. The brain has no choice but to heat back up. The slouch is a technique to increase stress and raise brain entropy. To make the same number of decisions each day with time moving so much faster, you must strain.

Cooling the brain off may increase lifespan, but it comes at a price. The slouch is the biological response to operate in increasing stress or to operate in the same stress with a cooler brain.

Size Matters: The Evolutionary Case for the Larger Nose

The race with the smallest skulls has the biggest noses. According to the rest of our theory, what does that mean? It means that the engine of the smaller brain gets hot more quickly, so a wider nose allows for greater airflow as well as less warming of the air.

Essentially, the warmer the climate, the larger the nose. But the climate doesn’t explain everything. There are plenty of people with big noses in cooler climates. 

Einstein was known for his huge nose. And he’s also famous for one of the most unique and powerful minds in the past 200 years. If you assume that his brain was more powerful than the average person, he’d need more airflow to support it. 

Peoples noses and ears grow throughout their lives. We’ll have to get into the ears later. What’s important here is that the nose can keep growing. 

The eyes cool the brain. We’re going to develop this idea in a future post. While I think there is evidence to support it, the eyes simply do not grow, so they cannot appropriately adapt the brain to greater stress. They do have another function that relieves stress, they can emit electromagnetic waves

The brain can get bigger. And it actually does until a certain point. People’s brains begin to shrink after their fortieth birthday. 

So yes, the climate matters. But not just the external climate. The internal climate as well. There are a couple of actions the body can take to neutralize the higher brain entropy: balding and a bigger nose.

What determines the solution? Let me remind you of all of our studies on eyesight. Essentially, poor eyesight is a symptom of high brain entropy. If you opted for glasses or contacts, you may force your body into a constant elevated state. The brain thinks it’s at equilibrium, but it’s not. So instead of increasing airflow [with nose enlargement], it reduces entropy by cooling the top of the head.



Untangling Facial Hair

How does facial hair fit into the theory? With our brain entropy theory, facial hair would be a way to heat up a brain that has gotten too cool.

Women rarely have it. Women have smaller heads.

Men’s doesn’t start until puberty. And It doesn’t grow on the nose, cheeks, or forehead.

Men have bigger noses. This would allow for greater airflow, and more brain cooling.

So if women have smaller heads and noses, pressure may not have the capacity to get as low as it could in men. Low pressure would need heat. And one way the body can add heat is to add facial hair.

So what else happens of note during male puberty? The voice deepens. This is significant, because if high entropy meant fast, low entropy would be slow. And slow when it comes to sound is deep.

If men are designed to endure more stress. To endure stress, you must have room in your brain. We would call that a low entropy state. A low entropy state would cause a deeper voice and facial hair. 



What about those skulls?

Don’t they prove evolution? Not exactly. They don’t prove that humans were once apes. They prove that humans once looked different.

Let’s look at the brain as a computer. Except as our computer speeds get faster and faster, the processors get smaller and smaller. So a decent computer now is hundreds of times faster than those decades ago, but it’s also much, much smaller.

But the brain does not offer us that opportunity. The substance of the brain has not changed in millions of years. But the speed of life and number of decisions that we make every day has increased exponentially. Why does that matter? Because if we didn’t make more efficient computer chips, if we just used the materials that they had in the 1970s to create computers now, computers today would be behemoths. There would be no portable smartphone, especially at this speed.


So if we need better processing power, with the same materials, the computers get bigger. So the heads would be smaller years ago, when the demands were so much lower.

If you look at entropy in the brain, and assume that stress causes higher entropy. We also assume that the brain has a stress or entropy limit. As the demands on the brains grew, the brain had to get bigger. Otherwise, it would overheat.

So, of course, any ancient skulls you find will probably be smaller. This is more evidence of how well the human body can adapt to stress than proof that we evolved from apes.

But not all ancient skulls are smaller. Neandrathals are roughly the same size as humans today. So we have some more exploring to do. 

Update: Exploring done.

We Evolve Faster

I’m not going to argue with Darwin, I think he had some very important ideas about how populations of animals change over time.

What I think he, and so many others got wrong, is that humans do not follow the same model. We evolve faster.

Let me try to show you what I mean:

  • Humans ears and noses never stop growing.
  • We get hairier as we age.
  • We have the capacity to change our diets, lifestyles, and environments.

These are unique in the animal kingdom.

When Darwin would say that the size of a bird’s beak or a dogs ear would help us classify it, humans do not have set sizes in these. Not even for a single person over the course of their life.

Because, unlike other species, our minds are reprogrammable. And we program it. So as our code changes, we change. Every day we either get closer to our truest selves, or further away.

Evolution or Diversification?

I started reading Sapiens last week. I’m only one chapter in, and I need to interject.

The first chapter gives an in-depth look at how different pre-human ancestors lived, and homo sapiens eventually ruled them all.

Here’s my take on it. It’s much simpler. If you assume that we all came from the same DNA, could different species exist? Yes, sort of. You have these different people on different parts of the globe, with different DNA. Not all that different, but up to four percent, according to Harari. We know that DNA is not stationary, and that the diet, lifestyle, and particular stresses associated with these populations would have mutated their genes differently. So, of course, you have different populations with different physical characteristics, because they evolved based on their particular environment.

I’d compare it to remote jungle tribes with little or no communication with the outside world, and a very distinct culture, mindset, and diet. They may look, act, and appear different than us, but we still call them humans.

So how did all the other species ‘die off’?

They didn’t. Well there’s the flood, which was a sort of convergence. I see it more that as resources became more plentiful, and diversity of food, lifestyle, and religion seeped from culture to culture, the DNA began to converge as well. Not that we are all so similar, but we’re all so different that it’s hard to call them different species any more.