n South African Journal of Child Health - Severe abuse of infants - an evolutionary price for human development? : opinion




Child abuse has been researched extensively and causes are usually found to arise from a large spectrum of psychological, socio-economic and cultural factors. This article evaluates infant abuse from an evolutionary perspective. It compares brain growth and neurological development of human infants with that of other primates, and relates these findings to infant abuse. The extra-uterine brain development in the early years of childhood, together with the greater vulnerability of the child as a result of immature neuro- and motor development as well as an 'unprotected and growing brain', may be an overlooked but important evolutionary reason for human infant abuse.


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