We've Been Getting Dumber —for Thousands of Years: Study
Hunter-gatherers were pretty darn smart: geneticist
By Neal Colgrass, Newser Staff
Posted Nov 12, 2012 4:58 PM CST
Updated Nov 17, 2012 7:21 AM CST
A statue of Plato.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Talk about optimism: A genetics professor in California argues that human beings have been dumbing down for thousands of years and will only grow dimmer down the road, the Independent reports. We probably peaked as hunter-gatherers, who survived by their wits, and saw a decline in natural selection of the intellect as we shifted to agricultural and city life, argues Gerald Crabtree of Stanford University. Then we just got dumber as genes mutated with each generation. (His paper is in two parts, here and here.)

"I would wager that if an average citizen from Athens of 1000BC were to appear suddenly among us, he or she would be among the brightest and most intellectually alive of our colleagues and companions," writes Crabtree. "Furthermore, I would guess that he or she would be among the most emotionally stable of our friends and colleagues." But not all are convinced: "At first sight this is a classic case of Arts Faculty science," says a geneticist in London. "Never mind the hypothesis, give me the data, and there aren’t any."

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Showing 3 of 105 comments
YetAnotherCollegeKid
Nov 17, 2012 10:22 PM CST
"Hunter gatherer's lived on their wits" as if that is a compelling argument. Wolves are hunters and work as a group, and it's been YEARS since one wrote a decent screenplay.
onbeshero
Nov 17, 2012 7:58 PM CST
I recently heard a health lecturer theorized that a lot of mental health problems stem from a mucus build up in the brain caused by eating foods not meant for human consumption. Humans are very adaptable with the ability to find a way to ingest all kinds of crazy things and then dismiss the side effects such as a bloated belly or brain fog as being normal. What if eating the wrong foods is causing "snotty brains" which impairs intelligence. Parents teach their children to eat as they do so this would be passed from generation to generation but be modified by the introduction of new "food" items. Ever looked at your tongue and wonder what that white stuff on it is? If you get a tongue cleaner and scrape it off you will see that it is a mucus substance. What if what is sticking to your tongue is also sticking to your brain?
SHANNB
Nov 17, 2012 6:26 PM CST
This article is hilarious because it is true!! I have met people younger than me, and they are stupid!!! They have little or no common sense, most of them don't seem to have any intelligence, they can't spell or speak words correctly, they are lazy and have no morals or values!! Sad, but oh so true!!