Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Ancient People Were Smarter Than Us

Any cursory reading of our scriptures and literature like the Ramayana and Mahabharata tells us that these early people were intellectually superior to modern humans, capable of fantastic feats. Telepathy, telekinesis, no-contact insemination through chanting of verses, nuclear warheads mounted atop arrows, these are some of the achievements of our ancients, faithfully and accurately depicted in the television series Ramayana and Mahabharata.

But as a scientist I always felt something was missing. Anthropological evidence that these people really were smarter. Now two neuro-scientists Gary Lynch, Richard Granger have come up with irrefutable proof that some ancient people were super smart. Brains don't fossilize but the size and shape of skulls can tell us a lot. They have analyzed a set of unusually large human skulls several thousand years old and concluded that these fossil skulls represent a highly intelligent race named the "Boskops". They summarize their finding in a new book titled Big Brain: The Origins and Future of Human Intelligence.

Here's what the book description says about the Boskops:

They possessed extraordinary features: forebrains roughly 50% larger than ours, and estimated IQs to match--far surpassing our own. Many of these huge fossil skulls have been discovered over the last century, but most of us have never heard of this scientific marvel........

The authors speculate in an interview with Discover Magazine

"Just as we're smarter than apes, they were probably smarter than us." More insightful and self-reflective than modern humans, with fantastic memories and a penchant for dreaming, the Boskops may have had "an internal mental life literally beyond anything we can imagine."

The slight hitch is that the Boskopoid race lived in South Africa. But no matter. I am sure someone will come up with an Indian connection.

John Hawks has the details.. :-)

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