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Yep, it's not purely the brain size that matters, it's the ratio of brain size to total body mass. And Neanderthals did indeed have larger brains than humans. They also started wearing pigmented jewelry before we did, in fact we might have learned it from them.

I would consider a function of surface and volume, as well as the kinds and "bandwidth" of the senses and complexity of society. You have to process all the sensory input that comes through the skin, eyes, sonar and keep your friends friendly.

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