Human intelligence is a vital factor on in the study of the evolution. It entails the common mental capability that involves the ability to reason, solve problems, plan, think abstractly and learn quickly. Generally, intelligence is an overall term that describes a variety of interrelated mental abilities. Several theories have been postulated to explain the evolution of human intelligence. The theories are closely tied to the evolving of the human brain and development of human language.
Intelligence interpretation and perception is diverse and varies relatively with scenarios presented. Recognition of intelligence is not well elaborate. Many scholars agree that recognizing intelligence can be based on the exhibition of mental capabilities. Handling of situations reasonably, rate of learning new arts and activities, finding solutions to problems are just, but a few mental capabilities observed in recognizing intelligence. The human evolution timeline approximated to be about 7 million years from the separating of the Pan genus till the emerging of the behavioral modernity. The behavioral modernity is believed to have started 50,000 years ago. The 7 million years are broken down into different stages. The first 3 million years concern with Sahelanthropus, the succeeding 2 million years, concentrate Australopithecus and the last 2 million centers on the human species known as the Paleolithic. The evolution process in stages as fore stated saw the growth of intelligence and mental capabilities. The stages also exhibited distinct brain growth of the species. A bigger brain translated to high intelligence and execution of characteristics that define mental capabilities.
Focusing on the homininae (Australopithecines), brain growth and intellectual development took place evidently 5 million years ago. This saw the differentiation in function where the Hominin became bi-pedal and learned how to use his hands in his survival-oriented tasks. The tasks were mainly hunting and gathering of food. The Intellect in Hominins, as cited by scholars, transcended the ape-competitiveness to cooperation and communication. The lack of large size sharp canine teeth in their dentation suggests that these pre-humans had no use for threat signals. This further means that the hominins were past the ape competitiveness and thus forged superior communication and cooperation.
The next genus in the human evolution process, Homo foresaw the increase in brain sizes from 600cm³ in Homo habilis to 1500cm³ in Homo sapiens. The brain growth went had in hand with intelligence. At this stage, Homo habilis had a sophisticated brain that coordinated fine hand movements which aided in his use of tools. Homo sapiens, on the other hand, approximated to have existed 200,000 years ago, are seen as the founders of behavioral modernity. The Homo sapiens are credited with the discovery of fire and adapting to new sources of foods. Their intelligence saw the formulation of coherent language compared to their predecessors. The behavioral modernity connected to this species saw the rapid sophistication in tool-making. It also set the stage for prehistoric art, trade, burial rites which were evident 30,000 years ago(Carter, 32).
The modern day man has outdone his predecessors by transforming his environment wholly. He has achieved full modern behavior exhibited via modern art, self-ornamentation, religion and rites, improved trade and other elements of extreme modernity. The present-day man has improved intellectually impacting on him socially, economically and politically. Socially, through enhanced communication and integration, mode of dressing, adaptation of progressive cultures and religion with his fellow species. Economically through efficient trade that incorporates money and technology, quality products and services with ample utility and improved industries. Politically, organization of structures and governance are the main pillars of the political intellect exhibited by man in these modern times.
Intelligence as recognized in the various phases of evolution has presented a problem of measurement. Many incorporate measure of intelligence to the Intelligence Quotient (IQ) tests. These tests have been faulted for not considering the diversities present in the real world. The nature of intelligence differs and cannot be confined in such tests. This means that the IQ tests cannot be trusted to come up with conclusive and acceptable results on the measure of an individual’s measure of intelligence. Intelligence, in my opinion, should be measured taking into consideration the different mental abilities of different people. An individual’s intellect might be optimal in problem solution while another might be fast in learning new things. In such a scenario the individuals, ought to have different tests that dwell on their strong mental capabilities (Cartwright, 69).
As highlighted earlier in the different stages of the evolution time-line, human language and social behavior is a strong indicator of intelligence. In the case of the Sahelanthropus, the language and social behavior was deemed primitive compared to the successive groups that came thereafter. As the brain capacity increases, so does the intellectual capabilities. The coherence in language is attributed to the intelligence possessed by a particular species. Human language development is said to have occurred due to the increased need for interrelationship and cooperation. The earlier species as noted earlier exhibited primitive, predatory and competitive behavior. This changed as the evolution took course bringing about the full behavioral change that fostered unity of purpose. The high levels of intelligence helped promote social interaction devolving roles and also setting rules that governed the interaction.
Carter, Eston. The evolution of human intelligence: proceedings of workshop. Bellevue, WA: The Foundation, 2000.
Cartwright, John. Evolution and human behavior: Darwinian perspectives on human nature. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2001.