Re: Brain size (was Save the Whales)

Michael Lorrey (
Sun, 28 Sep 1997 11:19:40 -0400

Nicholas Bostrom wrote:
> The Low Golden Willow wrote:
> > A large brain may require a large body, but by what I've skimmed from
> > Churchland a large body might well need a large brain to function.
> > There's a distorted map of your skin on the surface of your brain. More
> > skin, more map.
> I have often heard this argument, but I think it is wrong. Processing
> of tactile information takes up only a small fraction the cortex.
> Therefore, if we double body area, or the number of tactile
> receptors, and if we assume that this requires that tactile sensory
> cortex also doubles, this will mean that the total brain size only
> goes up by a percent or so.

Very true. A more accurate estimation would be to measure the
sensitivity, and therefore the resultant data stream size, from all
sensory organs. While whales have a pretty good brain/body mass ratio,
one must also understand that their sonar abilities to image an entire
oceam with a few chirps would take up a huge portion of this processing
capacity. To see how other animals compare to humans, this sensory organ
bandwidth issue must be accounted for in such brain/body mass ratio

			Michael Lorrey
------------------------------------------------------------	Inventor of the Lorrey Drive
MikeySoft: Graphic Design/Animation/Publishing/Engineering
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