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People are unusual animals. We spend a lot of time watching mediocre T.V., but we also describe our thoughts in written language. We pour beer on our heads at football games, but we also study the whole history of life on Earth preserved in fossils.
It’s not our biceps that make us people special, but our thoughts. What makes our thinking so complex, able to soar with the poets and solve problems with an engineer?
In the 1800s, a number of scientists spent considerable effort trying to determine a biological basis that they assumed made some people “smarter” and “more civilized” than others. We can learn something of vital importance about science and scientists from the history of their projects.
Craniology, as the science of head size and brain structure was called, had two basic ideas: bigger brains were smarter brains and any structures that were toward the front of the brain were more developed in smarter or more civilized people.
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