Up From Dragons

Up From Dragons

Up from Dragons: The Evolution of Human Intelligence is a 2002 book on human evolution, the human brain, and the origins of human cognition by John Skoyles and Dorion Sagan. The book considers how the brain and genes evolved into their present condition over the course of thousands and millions of years. It was published by McGraw Hill.

The book argues that the earlier ape brain had evolved “mindmakers” and that the human mind arose when these were “rewired” by symbols. This new “mindware” was created by the prefrontal cortex in combination with neural plasticity. This “Symbolic capacity is the ‘missing link’ that changed the ape brain into a human and made mindware possible, allowing symbols to structure the brain”. p. 277 Mindware itself has been evolving for the last 120,000 years and as a result kept reshaping human consciousness, thought and culture. Its last chapter speculates upon the future of human cognition.

The title relates to Carl Sagan (co-author Dorion Sagan's father) and his 1977 book The Dragons of Eden for which this book provides a 25th-anniversary reappraisal.

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