Nautilus

Did Preemies Make Humans Smart?

Monkeys can tell numbers apart, make ordinal comparisons, and even add and subtract, but that’s where their abilities peak. The question is why. Our outlier status is a longstanding puzzle. Many studies of why humans are so smart have focused on how we use tools and technology, on our diets, and our language use. In a new study, though, titled “Extraordinary intelligence and the care of infants,” a pair of cognitive scientists at the University of Rochester used a novel approach to show how, instead, it could have been a combination of parenting smarts and early births that made us so brainy.

“The

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