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Here is a quote from Daniel Goleman's book Emotional Intelligence:

Over millions of years of evolution,the brain has grown from the bottom up,with its higher centers developing as elaborations of lower, more ancient parts.

I can’t understand the meaning of this part:

more ancient parts.

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The phrase ancient parts is mentioned more than once in the book (twice to be exact). The first one is in WHY THIS EMOTION NOW chapter and the other one is in HOW THE BRAIN GREW which includes the paragraph you mentioned.

Let's talk about the 1st paragraph.

[...] This flood of neurobiological data lets us understand more clearly than ever how the brain's centers for emotion move us to rage or to tears, and how more ancient parts of the brain, which stir us to make war as well as love, are channeled for better or worse.

In this scope, the phrase ancient parts is used to define the emotion base that directs us to impulse decisions which are managed by our brain's earlier developed parts. As mentioned in the paragraph these are ancient parts and these parts evolved in the early periods of our lives. The growth of the brain in the human embryo roughly retraces this evolutionary course as well.

Let's check the 2nd paragraph.

[...] Over millions of years of evolution, the brain has grown from the bottom-up, with its higher centers developing as elaborations of lower, more ancient parts.

The following paragraph after this one, mentions the most primitive part of the brain which is a supportive approach to the 1st and the 2nd paragraphs.

The phrase ancient parts is a direct reference to the actual early step of neurologic evolution. And this is supported in HOW THE BRAIN GREW chapter with the following paragraphs:

[...] From the most primitive root, the brainstem, emerged the emotional centers. Millions of years later in evolution, from these emotional areas evolved the thinking brain or "neocortex," the great bulb of convoluted tissues that make up the top layers. The fact that the thinking brain grew from the emotional reveals much about the relationship of thought to feeling; there was an emotional brain long before there was a rational one.

The most ancient root of our emotional life is in the sense of smell, or, more precisely, in the olfactory lobe, the cells that take in and analyze smell. Every living entity, be it nutritious, poisonous, sexual partner, predator or prey, has a distinctive molecular signature that can be carried in the wind. In those primitive times smell commended itself as a paramount sense for survival.

From the olfactory lobe the ancient centers for emotion began to evolve, eventually growing large enough to encircle the top of the brainstem. [...]

Finally, the phrase ancient parts is a direct reference to the human brain's earlier developed parts in evolutionary steps.

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