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High Altitudes Produce Bigger Brains

New research shows that The higher up in latitude you live, the bigger your brain AND eyeballs will be. But does this mean that people who live in these regions are better thinkers? Relatively few innovations have come from people living in these parts of the world, but this may be because the populations of polar  countries have always been relatively sparse.

Their brains may be bigger simply to help them cope with the cold. And what about the eyeballs? There's less oxygen available at higher altitudes. Many high altitude areas are cold and thus snowy. It turns out that people need to see better in places that receive less light than areas that closer to the equator.

In Discovery News, Jennifer Viegas quotes anthropologist Robin Dunbar as saying, "Someone living on the Arctic Circle would have an eyeball that is 20% larger than someone living on the equator." Does this make the Inuit who live in the Arctic the smartest people on Earth? Not necessarily. She quotes anthropologist Eiluned Pearce as saying, "The point we’re trying to make is that the larger brains of high latitude humans doesn't mean they're smarter, it just means they have increased the size of brain areas dedicated to vision, and this has increased brain size overall."

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