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A Brief History of the Brain

 
By Jacob Andreae

Around 200,000 years ago, our brains stopped growing, and about 10,000 years ago, they actually began to shrink. The human brain is the most powerful “computer” on the planet. And it has modest beginnings. 


Where did it all begin?

 

The story begins in the oceans, long before animals even existed. Single-celled organisms didn’t have brains. But they did have advanced ways of communicating. They sensed and responded to their environment by releasing chemicals (which is slow) or shooting an electrical impulse across their body. 

 

From the single-celled choanoflagelletes that gave rise to animals 850 million years ago, the brain is now a 100 billion-celled organ. 


How did it all begin?

 

Choanoflagellates are single-celled organisms thought to give rise to animals. The nerve cells of ancient animals evolved long extensions known as axons. This enabled messages to be sent much more quickly as the chemical messengers...

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