Understanding our brain
Understanding our brain can be a daunting process, and it is fair to say that the human brain is the most complex and sophisticated organ in the human body.
If you look at a human brain it appears to be a jelly type mass of pinkish-grey tissue that looks a bit like an over-grown walnut. If you held an adult human brain in your hands it would actually be quite heavy – weighing approximately 1.5 kilograms, and oily to touch.
You might marvel at the fact that this fleshy organ houses your mind and thoughts, stores your memories, and controls your emotions, dreams, disappointment and decisions.
The brain has enabled the human race to become the most powerful species on the planet earth and our brains have been responsible for some of the most ground-breaking advances in technology, science, and medical discoveries. The brain is the creator of language which has given us the ability to communicate, exchange ideas and artefacts, and be sociable.
Did you know that mind produces approximately 70,000 thoughts per day?
The human brain hasn’t always been as sophisticated as it is now. There was a time when it was a lot smaller and wasn’t able to even generate language. For example, “Lucy” is the earliest evidence we have of human existence, her fossilised remains dating back to approximately 3.5 million years ago revealed a brain size of just 433cc. This is just a little over the size of a chimpanzee brain which measures around 393cc but smaller than a gorilla brain at 465cc. Around 1.8 million years ago, Homo habilis and Homo ergaster had human-type brains weighing in around 500-750cc. Then in a period of 750,000 years brain size almost doubled and then continued to rise at a slower rate, reaching a peak with the Neanderthal species whose brain size ranged between 1450 and 1800cc. These were a species or subspecies of Homo which became extinct about 40,000 years ago. We still share 99.7% of their DNA and are therefore closely related. As homo sapiens we have a brain a little smaller than our Neanderthal ancestors with an average size of 1350cc.