SURVIVAL OF THE FATTEST The Key to Human Brain Evolution by Stephen Cunnane (Canada Research Chair in Brain Metabolism, Research Center on Aging, Université de Sherbrooke, Québec, Canada) Pub. Date: Scheduled Summer 2005 Pages: 500pp (approx.) ISBN: 981-256-191-9 (Hardcover) / 981-256-318-0(pbk) (Softcover) URL: http://www.worldscibooks.com/lifesci/5769.html How did humans evolve larger and more sophisticated brains? In general, evolution depends on a special combination of circumstances: part genetics, part time, and part environment. In the case of human brain evolution, the main environmental influence was adaptation to a 'shore-based' diet, which provided the world's richest source of nutrition, as well as a sedentary lifestyle that promoted fat deposition. Such a diet included shellfish, fish, marsh plants, frogs, bird's eggs, etc. Humans and, and more importantly, hominid babies started to get fat, a crucial distinction that led to the development of larger brains and to the evolution of modern humans. A larger brain is expensive to maintain and this increasing demand for energy results in, succinctly, survival of the fattest. Contents a.. Human Evolution: An Overview b.. Uniqueness of the Human Brain c.. Fetal Fat - The Other Unique Human Attribute d.. The Basics - Operating a Big Brain e.. Insurance f.. How Did We Get Fat Babies? g.. Darwin - Evolution as Opportunity h.. Survival Isn't Good Enough i.. The Shore-Based Scenario j.. Where's the Evidence?