Monday, July 18, 2011


Welcome to my blog about the way brain and diet have "interacted" over millennia, each driving the other to greater complexity.

I have been a long-time student of all things related to the brain. For the past ten years or so, I have become fascinated with food and the human diet. Only recently have I seen how intimately food and brain are connected.
We wouldn't be who we are as a species if not for all those higher cortical functions (e.g., language and facial recognition). But we would be very, very different if we ate only plants (herbivorous), only animals (carnivorous), and certainly if we focussed on one species the way a koala or panda does. You don't need to be a biologist to know somehow that a bamboo-eating panda is quite different from a black bear in behavior, and you'd probably be aware that the bear is far more intelligent. Like us, all bears (except perhaps polar bears) are omnivores: they can subsist on a diverse diet; indeed they must have a wide variety of foodstuffs in a given day. It is no surprise that bears and other non-human omnivores (e.g., raccoons and crows) are among the smartest creatures on the planet.
In coming posts, I'll be discussing academic and mainstream news on the evolution of the human diet - and the many features our brain has developed in response to the environment which provides the incredible array of (more or less edible) materials we call food.
I am planning to write a book about this subject next year. All comments welcome. You might even make it into the acknowledgements!

No comments:

Post a Comment