James Traniello was interviewed on social brain evolution by WHYY, and NPR affiliate in Philadelphia. Traniello believes the idea of distributed intelligence in insects may help explain an aspect of the evolution of the human brain.
“Most people are aware that over the last 200,000 years, human brains have increased very dramatically,” Traniello said.
What’s less well-known, Traniello said, is that starting about 10,000 to 20,000 years ago, around the time agricultural societies began to develop, human brains started to shrink. According to one estimate, they have lost about the size of a tennis ball so far.
“That is as fascinating as why human brains became large in the first place,” Traniello said.