Even though we cannot survive for more than few minutes if we stop breathing or if our heart stops, why is it so that our heart beat is controlled involuntarily while breathing can be voluntarily controlled to a certain extent. I just noticed that blinking of eyes also falls in this category; though we involuntarily blink and our eyelids close involuntarily in bright light, there is still voluntary modulation. What kind of evolutionary changes and natural selection could have led to these kind of voluntary modulations i.e. cortical control over these processes?

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    $\begingroup$ Perhaps to make tasks like eating and speaking possible. Note that you cannot voluntarily stop breathing indefinitely. $\endgroup$
    – canadianer
    Apr 28, 2015 at 11:13
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    $\begingroup$ You already know why these processes cannot be voluntary. There is some level of voluntary control on breathing but it is overall involuntary. So if that is your question then you should note what @canadianer said. $\endgroup$
    Apr 28, 2015 at 11:52
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    $\begingroup$ evolution does not have consciousness or will. It does not make choices. Living beings are formed through mutations, natural selection,genetic drift etc. $\endgroup$ Apr 28, 2015 at 12:32
  • $\begingroup$ @WYSIWYG involuntary and unconsiously doing something is different. $\endgroup$
    – 9Heads
    Apr 28, 2015 at 12:34
  • $\begingroup$ @DivyaPrakash they more or less mean the same. Moreover I never mentioned the word "unconscious". $\endgroup$
    Apr 28, 2015 at 12:40


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