• Question: Why is the shape of our brains the way it is now why cant it be a different shape?

    Asked by marti20 to Anna, Iain, Nick on 20 Mar 2014.
    • Photo: Anna Middleton

      Anna Middleton answered on 20 Mar 2014:

      Hi marti20
      The shape of the brain has evolved over thousands of years. It has become the way it is through random events that have changed its shape. These events, over time, have meant that we have become able to problem solve, communicate, plan ahead, modify our behaviour. If the brain was a different shape then we might function and behave differently.

    • Photo: Iain Moal

      Iain Moal answered on 21 Mar 2014:

      The human brain is a very different shape compared to other animals. One thing that neuroscientists have noticed is that the smarter an animal is, the larger its brain compared to its body, and the more ‘wrinkled’ it is. Us humans have a large brain which is so convoluted that it looks like a walnut.

      The theory is that, because the surface of the brain is really important, when the brain evolved to get bigger, it started to fold up to maximise this surface area, which is why our brain is the shape it is and not smooth like most other animal brains.