Most of these revelations have come through archaeology, thestudy of old things. Archaeology is a retread ofcenturies-old anthropology, which can trace the once-permanentlines on a once-permanent face.
Its new revelations are almost exclusively discovered in peoplesites, not races, and the human species looks verydifferent today than the one that first entered the scene almostfour million years ago.
Over time, as our ancestors began to adapt to the changing world,some of them changed more than others. In the Americas, forexample, cranial capacity increased from about 1300 cubic inchesto 1900 cubic inches between 10,000 and 5000 years ago.
Other groups around the globe -- hunter-gatherer societies inEast Asia, for example, and the original farmers in the Fertile Crescent --looked and acted much the same for most of the past 2500 years.Slowly, over the past several thousand, the entire line of peopleflowing from Africa began to diverge from its original route inAsia, and began to change so radically as to leave all other humans inthe dust.
Many experts say it was the Europeans whose brains grew almostthe fastest. Several analyses, for example, have suggested that inEurope the average number of neural synapses in the frontal lobes,the front of the brain, increased from seven billion during theMiddle Stone Age to nearly 16 billion by the Middle Ages.
The Europeans didn't look dramatically different either, at leastwhen seen by Africans and Asians. The cranial capacity of Europeansdecreased slightly during the past few thousand years, but onlyvery slightly. When Europeans arrived in their boats in the Americasfairly recently, their average cranial capacity was as big asAfricans', between 1700 and 2000 cubic inches. d2c66b5586