>>My theory on this subject does not have as much to do with genetics as it does with instinct.
Animals mature faster than humans because they rely more on instinct; there is less that they have to learn. Humans operate
largely on learned knowledge, thus evolution has provided us with lengthy childhoods.<<
Umm, not quite.
Humans have long childhoods because we’re born neurogically underdeveloped. The reason we’re born neurologically underdeveloped, is that in order to have the big brains we’ve evolved, we need heads that are impossibly big for birth.
A newborn kitten is approximally the neurological equivalent of a two-and-a-half year old human. We couldn’t possibly be born with the heads of two-and-a-half year olds.
Especially with the pelvises that we evolved for walking upright.
There’s other evidence (the fossil record, for one), but from the birthing considerations alone, we could know that human bi-pedalism evolved before big brains.
Interesting, as we grew our big brains, our pelvises actually “devolved,” just a little, from what would be ideal for bi-pedalism. Australopithecines were better walkers than we are.
Anyway, we evolved to be born in a semi-fetal state, with neurological development continuing for a long time after birth. This is what infancy is for.
In fact, human infancy is probably closer to marsupials’ “pouch incubation” than to the post-partum period of any other placental mammal.
Shopping is still cheaper than therapy. --my Aunt Franny