Shortly before he passed away, Ernest Mayr published an article in which discussed his
ideas about the probability of extra terrestrial intelligence elsewhere in the universe. His
authoritative opinion was that, judging from terrestrial biological diversity, the incidence
is very low. He assumed that intelligence is a tenuous strategy for replicators and to
prove his point he invoked statistics on intraspecific and interspecific diversity.
If animals were truly able to survive in a cognitively demanding ecological niche simply by
being highly encephalized then we would expect to see many intelligent animals that don’
t receive parental investment- and we don’t.
It is important to note that identifying the role of the mother as a causal influence on her
baby’s intelligence, even before it is born should be instructive. We must now seek to
carefully specify the risk factors so that mothers can be better informed. In these times, a
precise interpretation of the epidemiological risk factors for mental disease could be
instructive for Lamaze, medical screening, psychotherapy and even practical for gene
therapy. Different forms of cognitive impairment eat up billions of dollars every year. It is
economically sound, medically important and humanitarian to do more research.
“Origin of man now proved-Metaphysics must florish-He who understand baboon
would do more toward metaphysics than Locke.”
-Charles Darwin, M Notebook, August 1838
As is so often noted in cultural anthropology, studying others leads to more objective
knowledge about the self. Similarly, viewing mental retardation outside of pathology
allows us a better vantage point by which to view ourselves cognitively, genetically,
morphologically, and phylogenetically. The understanding that chromosomal trisomies
may be a mechanism for adaptation besides in nematode round worms, that a cognitive
ecological continuum may be dependent on meme utility and that…
One popular concept sited by evolutionary theorists posits that it is clear that natural
selection is not a long process leading up to or progressing towards the creation of
humans. Humans, despite our sophistication, are simply another evolutionarily
successful form out of millions of other similarly viable forms. Our high intelligence is not
only reliant on the existence of a social group, one that can transfer or explicitly teach
survival relevant memes, but also on our continued ability to employ those memes
Other Trends and Random Notations
Meme utility explains why males are more vulnerable to mental retardation, because they
are the hunters. It also explains why women get AD after estrogen drops, because the
pressure on them to remain encephalized decreases after menopause.
DS incidence is analogous to young puppies having relatively small litters. They are both
age related investment strategies. The first baby that a new mother has is also more
likely to have MR.
My prediction for CP is that animals that have been deprived by their mothers should
have similar neurological and behavioral (exaptive) deficiencies. The effect though
should be more pronounced in humans because their ecological niche is more varied
(because they are omnivourous bipeds with prehensile digits). Also the genes for
stupidity could become more prevalent because humans, unlike other animals, share
without reciprocation. Because the successful and generous hunters get more sex.
This article contends that Down’s Syndrome (and possibly other forms of retardation as
well) is a dimorphism that created a balance between these two strategies that allowed
humans to become the ultimate scenario analysis strategists.
I believe that part of what made humans so smart, and other animals too, was that they
had to be able to work in a group and or, work independently, this was variability that
FAPs and genes had a hard time creating with out (the negative and enervating) neural
A study on the parenting of adults with mental retardation shows that many reports claim
that mentally retarded caretakers do reasonably well (Dowdney et al., 1993). The same
study reported that some assessments report frequent unsatisfactory caretaking, which
might be expected.
Dowdney L, Skuse D. (1993) Parenting provided by adults with mental retardation. J
Child Psychol Psychiatry. 1993. Jan; 34(1):25-47.
Costs of being a predator (Walker et al., 1989)
Disorder Heritable Component
Schizophrenia Yes, responsible for 70% of risk (Tsuang 2000)
Similarly, of animals raised in captivity, herbivores can prove viable in the wild, but
carnivores cannot survive on their own without sufficient parental investment.
Genes for stupidity would not work to create an adaptive precocial dimorphism because
it would just make our entire species stupid after a everyone interbreeded.
Nondisjunction rates saved all this. They allowed a set frequency for DS and they also
capitalized on follicular degeneration. DS may have allowed us to become more
intelligent because it kept an equilibrium between strategies and would prove effective in
CP is a reliance on nature over nurture. When nurture will be taken away, an animal
should abandon the expensive mechanisms that were initially intended to internalize
Maternally and paternally imprinted genes. Could the mother be responsible for brain
size because of the importance of maternal investment and the relationship between
mother and offspring? Does this further implicate maternal mortality in cognitive
parsimony? This knowledge of imprinting should give credibility to an argument
attempting to link intelligence to maternal deprivation.
Modern physical anthropology recognizes that as our hominid ancestors diverged further
from apes, their ecological niche favored big brains more and more. A prolonged
juvenile period, diet, bipedalism, social interaction, machavellian influence, and a
fundamental reliance on skill intensive foraging are a few of the most academically
popular characteristics, sited by theorists, that allowed gradual increases in brain size.
Yet why would the process of evolution have waited so long to endow our ancestors with
bigger brains, and what set the ceiling on brain size in modern man?
These neuroendocrinological impulses can create behavior that is simple, even reflexive,
yet only some of the behavioral attempts at appeasing these impulses will be successful,
but those that are, are reinforced and they become dominant responses in the animals
repertoire that are usually better informed than the genetically heritable responses.
Scenario vigilance strategists simply remain vigilant for stimuli that will elicit either
genetically heritable behavior or very simple learned behavior. The difference between
the vigilance strategy and the analysis strategy is simply quantitative and it consists in
how often new behaviors are being learned and internalized. The scenario vigilance
strategist will have reactions that seem more discrete and less flexible, whereas the
scenario analyst might be able to orchestrate several reactions at a time and even learn
new behaviors in the process.
To a biologist or zoologist it must already be quite clear that these two strategies
comprise two sides of another spectrum – a “cognitive-ecological continuum.” This is so
because it is obvious that no living animal depends solely on learned information. All
animals have behavioral baggage (instincts) that we inherited from our ancestors and
none of us deliberately formulates every aspect of our behavior. It is important to note
that the actual organisms in this continuum are intermediary forms fitting comfortably
somewhere between the extremes embodied by these two strategies. However, one
might make an argument that some of the most simplistic organisms do not internalize
any information about their environment, over the course of their life, that will effect their
behavior; these organisms then, would embody the vigilance end on this strategic
“we know that the mind has been shaped by natural selection to maximize reproductive
success” Randolph Nesse- Natural Selection, mental modules and intelligence
Schiz PPI response tunes individuals in to very subtle unintentional cues, which may have
helped them escape Machievellian influence and manipulation. Quick to jump on
people, hard to inhibit intuition.
Down’s syndrome appears to occur in all ethnic groups in equal frequency (Christianson,
1996). This gives us a favorable and egalitarian perspective on the ethnology of DS.
Chromosomal mutations increase the variation in a genepool. The greater the variation,
the healthier the population, increasing characterisitics that may be beneficial if the
environment changes. If stupid people are more impulsive, could an evolutionary bottle
neck have favored low parented individuals and made them follow base instincts? They
did not need instruction, and they were efficiently impetuous. Unguided intelligence is
inefficient and non-adaptive.
Consciousness as we think of it is basically inhibition. DS patients that are not equally
as inhibited have smaller brains, but also have less sophisticated thoughts, and less
sophisticated movements because they are missing the inhibitory interneurons. The
movements of DS patients can be described as having meaningful movement, but less
Downs have shorter lives, which is consistent with non-human animals, they are also
hyperteloric, of small stature, show pharyngeal collapse and have hypotonic musculature-
they were probably much like Homo floresiensis
Encephalization, corticalization. In phylogenesis, the migration of function from
subcortical centres to the cortex. DS decreases the investment dependent behaviors
that are associated with corticalization. DS patients have a low ability to inhibit, therefore
there is less ritual, less over analysis. Most Downs syndrome patients are not
congenitally diseased, only stupid.
There are two things that we must concentrate on in this analysis. Some of the
epidemiological data that describes DS is adaptive and some of it is related to genetic
and biological limitations. Depending on the phylogenetic age of trisomy 21, the
morphological features that it is associated with such as facial, statural and muscular
features may be atavistic. Because our DS dimorphism may not have been selected for
the same traits that we have since it evolved.
Skilled behavior generally requires the efficient and effective execution of cognitive and
motor processes which are orchestrated by attentional resources. The capacity to
execute these processes, along with the concomitant attentional resources are
diminished in mentally retarded people, thus it seems that retardation would be
incompatible with skilled behavior. However, cognitive parsimony contends that
intelligence is constrained by the rigors of an ecological niche; and that there exists a
maximally and minimally efficient intelligence level for every niche. In other words, the
acculmulation of neurons within the head (the process of encephalization), and the
development of sophisticated neuro-anatomical structures meets a ceiling where further
mental resources jeopardizes an animal’s viability in its given niche; this is a kind of
neuro-ecological equilibrium. Furthermore, those species that inhabit ecological niches
that contain high variability in cognitive processing demands will exhibit evidence of
genetic compensation in the form of increased cognitive variability. I am promulgating
that the DS dimorphism does just this.
By analyzing the reproductive genetics, the behavioral proclivities and the life histories of
Down Syndrome (DS) subjects, the present article explores the advantages that mental
retardation may have conferred to the human genepool. I propose that the regular
frequency by which Down’s syndrome individuals are conceived within human
populations is indicative of the disorder’s value as a protective, behavioral dimorphism.
Although it may be both accurate and instructive to associate other forms of mental
retardation with evolutionary medicine, the genetic and physical anthropological
characteristics of DS seem uncannily consistent with the premises posited by cognitive
parsimony and the pertinent corollaries will be discussed here.
It is widely believed that the presence of family and society were crucial factors in
phylogenetic encephalization and the development of the cerebral hemispheres. As our
mammalian, primatial and hominid ancestors became increasingly intelligent, they also
became increasingly altricial and grew more and more reliant on parental investment. It
is conceivable that many hominid and human individuals, in our ancestral environment,
were orphaned, abandoned, or socially ostracized before they could reap the benefits of
parental investment. It is logical to assume that the physical environment or ecological
niche that these orphans would encounter would not favor the advanced responses and
intricate neurological systematizations that prove useful to other, more socially adept
humans. We might assume that an atavistic, genetic dimorphism would arise in order to
help make the human species more robust and in order to counter the contingency of
Conclusion: Children, older people, and DS individuals are not as competent hunters as
middle aged adults are. Because of this a large amount of dimorphism exists. Children
are kept small so that they can conserve energy, yet have highly metabolic brains so that
they can learn quickly in order to become active and productive adults (they serve the
community best as gatherers, much like I propose the DS individual would, DS
individuals are like perpetual kids in terms of food procurement strategies). Older
hunters and gathers begin to senesce and therefore must exhibit decreases in base rate
metabolism and brain metabolism or Alzheimers. DS individuals are hurt the most
because they never had a chance to adopt the important cultural memes and morays,
these individuals are small, like children and have low metabolisms. They also have
smaller brains because they will never have to learn to hunt and will never necessitate full
social acceptance. Plus they can reproduce and have fully functional non DS babies.
They are an evolutionary contingency mechanism that probably saved our genepool in
environmental bottlenecks. And there is a lot more to learn about them.
Operant and classical conditioning become less meaningful. Bottom up is more
important than top down.
A study by Becker et al., which concentrated on the visual cortex, reported that the
dendritic “tree” in infants with DS was more advanced than normal infants (Becker et al.,
1986). However, by two years of age the dendritic branches within the cortex were
significantly shorter and fewer in number. These findings are consistent with the idea
that the DS dimorphism is characterized by altriciality.
Down syndrome children are regarded popularly as agreeable, tractable children. Many
researchers contend that this is a myth (Gath et al., 1986) and attribute parental
tolerance to “resignation,” and expectancy factors. Therefore the viability of DS
individuals in a natural environment cannot be discounted on the basis of reported
Yerkes Dodson, Arousal increases emotion which creates load and dominant responses
Some of our members might not be taught and supported sufficiently and so it is
necessary that a certain dimorphism exist within our genes. As mothers age they
produce more downs syndrome babies, on an ultimate level, this is because they will not
be around to help them.
Not Used: Jagiello G. Reproduction in Down syndrome. In: de la Cruz FF, Gerald PS,
eds. Trisomy 21 (Down Syndrome): Research Perspectives. Baltimore, MD: University
Park Press; 1981;151-162
Important note: DS babies have smaller heads and so they would have been easier for
older women (who are more prone to infection) to push out successfully. Evolutionary
Palmer, et al. (1992). Head circumference of children with Down syndrome (0-36
months). American Journal of Medical Genetics, 42, 61-67.
DS males as alloparents?
Intraspecific diversity is everywhere and necessary, yet it should correspond to certain
…does not rely on resource investment from the parent organism(s). parental
deprivation, senescence, stress and autonomic arousal…
Does the Human Reliance on Intelligence Depend on the Probability of Memetic
Knowledge of CP should allow us to help mothers attempt to maximize their childrens
encephalization quotient. Good mothers may inadvertently tell cause CP, so we need to
pinpoint the risk factors, make them less general and decide if there are any benefit
factors that might indicate to the fetus to expect lots of maternal investment and low
probability or maternal mortality.
Chronic stress impairs spatial working memory- this may help individuals stay close to
the group, they realize that they will get lost, and thus it confers the same protective effect
as anxiety on new mothers does. I imagine that a mouse with lower spatial abilities
wouldn’t stray too far either.
Are their other sympathetic vs. parasympathetic response differences in MRs and DSs?
At its core, this work is analyzing chemical interactions- Cognitive Parsimony is
ultimately catabolic efficiency maximization. Meme utility vs. catabolism.
Schizophrenia is associated with association cortex hypometabolism, risk factors
include advanced paternal age and short interbirth interval.
Mentally retarded people could have used Johnathan Kingdon’s proposed strategy and
overturned rocks to uncover bugs, and worms.
Changes in the ecological niche change the requirements on cognitive capacity, this is
analogous to the cognitive differences in animals that have discrepant reproductive,
metabolic and consumptive strategies.
In the following sections I will make an argument that claims that stress, senescence and
the absence of parental investment are factors that are not hospitable to encephalization
and that favor scenario vigilance over scenario analysis. Without parental investment it is
more efficient for an animal to follow their genetically programmed instincts.
Maybe sch mice move more to attain food but are not instructed by mothers to escape
danger. Whereas sch humans move less because they have to conserve calories.
Both SA and SV use crystallized and fluid intelligence, analysis simply uses more.
Focus on proximate (immediate) and ultimate (evolutionary) causes.
Human sexual dimorphism might be due to metabolic demands, not male male
competition. Females are smaller like the DS and AZ, they have lower metabolic rates,
yet females need to be smart though. Reproduction needs intelligence, this is why mice
and women inc hippocampus in response to estrogen, yet Az accompanies menopause
and post reproduction.
In AZ section mention that estrogen protects against APP, and discuss this in
comparison to what we know about hippocampal increases in pregnancy and ovulation
and that old rats have increased APP.
The probability that all of these forms of MR are unrelated and purely pathological is
negligible because they all involve the hippocampus.
If mental retardation were simply due to germ cell mutations, then you would expect the
entire human gene pool to degenerate over a small number of generations. But his
doesn’t happen, cognitive parsimony simply lowers the IQ of individuals born to older
moms and then gives their children a new chance.
Could Genetically Heritable Mental Retardation Play a Role in a Quantitative
Reproductive Strategy? Non genetic FAP related behavior using animals benefit from
brain size. This is why genetically behavioristic animals like ants, don’t get smarter.
Dentition, and homestatic, thermoregulatory, respiratory and circulatory anomalies seen
in MR syndromes might be evidence of adaptation to a different ecological niche.
CP theory is consistent with the selfish gene theory or genic selection theory.
Notes I Won’t Use
They do not have anatomical structures that allow them to manipulate or analyze objects
in their environment and thus their morphology is not conducive to the evolutionary
accumulation of nerve cells, or to the development of sophisticated neuro-anatomical
I think that MR and DS facies are characteristic because of a new type of sexual
selection. A reverse sexual selection.
Could social isolation lead to adaptive organic forms of MR. Could isolation be a cue?
…via the association of endogenous morphine to nonreproductive and nonconsumptive
behavior throughout the course of their own lifetime
a proposed explanation intended to address a complex problem by trying to account for
all possible contingencies but typically proving to be too broadly conceived and therefore
oversimplified to be of any practical use.
Many MR patients have short stature, Homo floresiensis did too- is this a coincidence?
DS does too.
both between individuals (Down’s Syndrome and Schizophrenia) and within the
maturational timeline (Alzheimer’s Disease).
I can’t think of how to causally tease out low metabolism in DS from PPI defecits in
Schizophrenia in terms of the meaningful proximate and ultimate risk factors.
the accumulation and increased sophistication of networks of inhibitory interneurons (the
central nervous system).
It seems that encephalization, like many traits that characterize the animal kingdom,
exists on a continuum with the animals that can afford to pay expensive costs for
increased neural mass on one side, and the animals that have forgone encephalization
because of the associated metabolic costs on the other. There may be many
characteristics of an animals ecological niche that determine the maximally efficient
number (and anatomical organization) of neurons for its phenotype. I will argue that a
large causal player in this dynamic interaction is something that I call “meme utility.”
Do a cross taxa of retardation. Vigilance is not adaptive in an analysis niche and visa
How do you allow a carnivore bred in captivity to become ecologically viable. The best
way I can think of is to make it stupid and make it lethargic, so that it will try to adopt an
Both physical coordination and cognitive conceptualizations need parents (and neural
The attainment of this meat was dependent on group cooperation, social solidarity and
parental investment all of which was in turn reliant on increased encephalization.
Denis Mitchell says that stress is associated with lower social involvement, this is
consistent with my theory because Harlow showed us that lack of maternal investment
makes for social loners.
Is hippocampal hypoxia a cue for gene expression? No, it is a vulnerability to an
evolutionary medicine, but don’t all genetic mechanisms have an underlying physical or
Ungulates are attn deficit, not smart enough to stop grazing and look around. So they are
hyperteloric, raized bodies and this legs, the thin legs allow them to see around while
they eat (because their heads are down). Vigilance allows startle reflex.
Talk about Cartesian Perseverence- inability to reason because emotions cloud good
decision making, Like a monkey that can’t take his/her fist out of pot for fear of dropping