Larger-brained humans will only lead to race of fat-heads

A gift from a reader helps demonstrate how, if the journal Science is correct, one of these human head proportions may be accurate by the next generation. The question is, with today’s television programming, which size will it be?
As if we didn’t have enough problems already, according to a report in the journal Science the human brain is getting bigger. In fact, from what I understand (based on my in-depth analysis of a five-word headline in the New York Post), there’s a good chance yours may be outgrowing your skull right now. Signs this may be occurring include: vomiting, nausea, dizziness, frequent headaches and bleeding from the ears. If you suffer from any or all of these symptoms, DO NOT PANIC! They may only be the side effects of your current FDA-approved medication for acid reflux.

Then again, your brain might have actually gotten bigger since you started reading this column. And not just because of the sheer quality of writing — which is always a possibility (keeping in mind the same symptoms may apply.)

Before we go on, I should, as a responsible journalist, take a moment and actually read the article. In the meantime, I’d suggest applying equal amounts of pressure to both sides of your head, just to be safe.

… OK. Sorry — false alarm.

After reading the article it has become clear the threat of spontaneous brain enlargement is actually very slim. In fact, the only documented case appeared in the National Inquirer, which reported that a young boy’s head spontaneously grew three times its normal size during the Arkansas State Spelling Bee. Amazingly, nine-year-old Reggie Sims survived the incident and now lives in Southern California, where his oversized head goes virtually unnoticed. But for those of us living outside the Los Angeles basin, spontaneous head swelling remains extremely rare. However, researchers say the human brain is getting larger, albeit very slowly, through a process of evolution. At first, larger brains sounded like a good idea since bigger brains means a smarter gene pool, hence leading us toward a Utopian society free of want and suffering.

Or at least free from telemarketers.

The down side is that our great-great-great grandchildren could end up looking like one of those bigheaded aliens from a 50s science fiction movie. True, this could happen anyway — possibly even in my own lifetime — if I don’t meticulously screen each one of my children’s potential spouses. However, assuming neither my sons nor daughters marries anyone whose head fits snugly into a standard tractor inner tube, there’s still the matter of future generations to worry about. The journal Science article I read doesn’t mention anything about other parts of the human anatomy growing in proportion along with our enormous brains — which, as I’m sure many woman would attest, would double the male IQ. Biologists tell us that any “improvement” in the human anatomy is the direct result of evolution’s attempt to meet the changing needs of mankind. For example: Our opposable thumbs. This uniquely human trait distinguishes us from other primates, most notably through our ability to use all three holes in a bowling ball.

Following that line of thought, larger brains is likely the result of our need as a species to absorb and process more information at a younger age. This was evident last night, when my four-year-old nephew whipped my behind in PlayStation 2 football.

He cannot read.

He cannot understand the tactical decision making required for offensive line formations.

He doesn’t even know how many yards are in a first down.

Yet he can complete a Hail Mary pass and run a bootleg while I — with my larger and ultimately superior opposable thumbs — push buttons and move toggles as my defensive line is left picking grass from its teeth. I can’t say for sure if this has any connection to the evolutionary process. But if his head gets any bigger, I swear:

He’s moving to California.

[This was an excerpt from Humor at the Speed of Life, now available in eBook as well as hard cover from Port Hole Publications, or Barnes & Noble.)

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Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

28 thoughts on “Larger-brained humans will only lead to race of fat-heads”

  1. Oh wow, it took me this long to discover you now have an e-book available? Proof that my brain has NOT grown in size. Just picked up my copy. It’s nestled comfortably amid other e-books on my Kindle pushing and shoving their way forward to be read.

    “Be patient, little ones,” I tell them, “be patient.” But I look very forward to getting to yours!

    1. Haha! Thanks so much, Carrie! And the “little ones” thank you, too. I’ve actually done a really poor job of letting people know it’s out as an eBook. I should probably fix that. And our leaky bathroom faucet….and that squeaky step…and the broken outlet in the kitchen, and… 😉

  2. Well okay, but if this is true, you can just forget about childbirth entirely. We’ll simply have to find another way to reproduce. It’s bad enough when their heads swell as teenagers from the burden of knowing everything and having all the answers.

  3. gives us a good rationale for letting our bodies get huge them to support our giant melons. and lucky for you, he’s moving to cali.

  4. I have to let hubby read this…. He has an usually big head (literally and figuratively), so big that they had to custom made his ice hockey helmet when he was playing professionally 😀 he is obviously further down the evolution line than most if us….

  5. Schooled by a four-year-old. Dang. Well, my son’s head was in the 95th percentile for his first two years of life, and now it’s in the small range. Kind of like when Betelgeuse’s head shrinks…

  6. If PlayStation skills was crucial for survival I would have died a slow and painful death.

    And the only thing I see when you refer to a big head is the red queen…

  7. Hahaha based on my in-depth analysis of a five-word headline in the New York Post. I crack up at every one of your posts I swear. Most notably through our ability to use all three holes in a bowling ball – stoppit. Love this post : )

  8. I don’t go bowling often, but when I do I often have trouble figuring out which finger goes where. It’s five fingers and only three holes…quite puzzling if you ask me. I bet there are chimpanzees quicker at figuring it out. So either I’m not the best thing ever to happen to evolution, or bowling is meant for chimpanzees, or so reasons my modestly sized brain;)

No one is watching, I swear...

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