Stalking the big-brained baby

I have a hypothesis that the era of C-section baby deliveries could lead to the advent of a new big-brain phenotype.

Big-brained Baby?

Consider: the brain has been struggling to get bigger for about the last 100,00 years (since we reached anatomical modernity) but it can’t because we long-since reached the limits of brain & skull-case size that could fit through the human birth canal!

Of course, the birth canal will gradually get bigger–at maybe .1 cm per zillion years.

Meanwhile, enter the c-section. Now a fetus with an abnormally large brain case doesn’t have to get through the birth canal in one piece and unmangled anymore. Because of its delivery risks, discovered in prenatal monitoring,  it will routinely get a c-section and survive. More mothers who gestate big-brained babies will survive, too, possibly to have more big-brained babies (bbb’s)!

OK, so where are these bbb’s? Who knows! Nobody is looking for them!

We need to start systematically looking for these big-brained c-section babes in all the hospital delivery rooms. When we find them we need to get them into a controlled, double-blind research program designed as follows:

An equal number of big-brained and average-brained babies will all be given the same intervention and surveillance. The identities of which babies are bbb’s and which are average will be sealed in a vault for the duration of the study. All babies are treated exactly the same, but the treatment is very, very good.

No, we don’t take the babies away from their moms and hold them in an underground lab, but they go into a very enriched development program using all the latest neurodevelopmental enhancement methods. In other words, damn good schooling. That way they can all get the most consistent treatment throughout the program, which might last from 3 to 12 years, depending on funding. The parents would also be counseled and educated to promote the best possible development of the kids, and they would be paid lavishly so at least one parent won’t need to work and can be a dedicated and highly trained care-giver.

By rounding up these bbb’s and their moms and dads (figuratively) and giving them the best possible care, we accomplish some slight-of-hand eugenics: we help accelerate the emergence and proliferation of the bbb phenotype in the most benign way possible, but without that being an explicit objective.

Huh? Why not?

Poor Richard

Baby Big Head (click for source)

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One Response to “Stalking the big-brained baby”

  1. The First Men by Howard Fast « Poor Richard's Almanack 2.0 Says:

    […] But I only offer the above review as a lazy way to introduce the online text of one of my favorite sci fi short stories — one that strongly prodded my teenage imagination and which still influences my thinking about the human condition today in a way that few other sci fi tales do. (See for example my post “Stalking the Big-Brained Baby“). […]


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