Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, scientists found that brain size and function are not correlated.
The scientists who conducted the study determined that it is a matter of processing power rather than size that makes a difference. The estimated that approximately 37% of the population has a below-average size head, which had previously meant that they were considered intellectually inferior.
This assumption is something that makes a few appearances in the Canon. For example, when Henry Baker lost his hat in "The Blue Carbuncle," Sherlock Holmes thought that he was highly intelligent. The exchange between Holmes and Watson:
But clearly, Holmes wasn't alone in his assumption that a large skull meant a superior intellect. In "The Final Problem," Professor Moriarty's first words upon meeting Sherlock Holmes were
For answer Holmes clapped the hat upon his head. It came right over the forehead and settled upon the bridge of his nose. "It is a question of cubic capacity," said he; "a man with so large a brain must have something in it."
"You have less frontal development than I should have expected."
Dr. Mortimer also commented on the shape Sherlock Holmes's head in The Hound of the Baskervilles, noting the relatively long shape compared to the width:
"You interest me very much, Mr. Holmes. I had hardly expected so dolichocephalic a skull or such well-marked supra-orbital development."Even among the highly intelligent Sherlock Holmes, Professor Moriarty and Dr. Mortimer, we can forgive them for being products of their age. Interesting that it has taken over 100 years for the facts to come to light. We wonder what other Canonical assumptions are no longer valid...
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