Are Northerners Smarter Than You?

(Telegraph) The average brain size in Micronesia, which lies very near the equator, was just 1,200ml.

(Telegraph) Northerners’ brains are bigger, scientists find

Good news for our readers from the north: you are likely to have a bigger brain than your southern counterparts.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t necessarily mean you are more intelligent than people from the south – just that you have evolved to cope with the longer winters and greyer skies in northern climes.


Analysis of 55 skulls from 12 countries, dating from the 1800s, showed that people in northern areas have evolved to grow larger eyes and visual areas of the brain.

Having wider pupils allows the eyes to take in more light, while a bigger retina is able to distinguish more detail, producing a higher-resolution image.

A larger optic nerve and a more sizeable area of the brain dedicated to processing sight are also needed for northern populations to see to the same level of detail as people from further south.

Researchers from Oxford University examined the volume of eye sockets and brain cavities in the skulls and found a direct link to the latitude of their country of origin.

While English people had an average brain size of 1,416ml, the figure in Micronesia, which lies very near the equator, was just 1,200ml.

In contrast Scandinavians, the most northerly population tested, had a brain capacity of 1,484ml – more than 20 per cent higher than Micronesia.

(See the original article here)

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