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Comparative Neuroanatomy and Intelligence

Comparative Neuroanatomy and Intelligence


Brains inside Space inside Brain


Have you ever wondered what makes us humans different from, say, a rat? Have you ever wanted to see a cerebellum up close and personal? Have you ever looked at a frog and thought to yourself - hmmm, I wonder if he has neocortex? Have you ever wondered how intelligence is defined?

If so (or even if not!), you have come to the right place. While no "answers" will be given, we will explore together the intricacies and wonder of the brain. We will ponder questions about cognition and attempt to link brain to behavior.

You need not have any previous science experience to explore this website or participate in the thought exercises within!

This exhibit is organized into four main parts, and if you ever find yourself lost you can use the index on the left to guide you back:

  1. Comparative Brain Sizes and Body Sizes of Various Different Animals

  2. Details (and Slicing) of Brains

  3. Neurons and the Nervous System

  4. The Question of Intelligence

First, you may ask why are we studying comparative neuroanatomy? What is the use? Let's think about that... click here for a discussion of the relevance of this type of study.




Original Website by Patricia Anne KinserHaverford College, December 2000
Biology Major with Concentration in Neural and Behavioral Sciences
Advisor: Dr. Paul Grobstein

Updated Website by Riki, February 2012



John Wright Whitworth's picture

The Brain & Its Functions

I found Ray Enright's comments very interesting and somewhat intriguing; however, I have only one meaningful opinion: I think exercising the brain is very important. I believe that young people's brains are exercised on a daily basis because they are exposed to so many new things. Moreover I have read that as young men and women enter into their twenties certain areas of their brains become less active because they have either taken a specific job or are studying a selected field that will lead to their lifetime jobs. I don't know if that is true, but to me it seems logical to me.
My own experience is that I had a stroke at the ate of 70. I am now 73 and 1/2. The stroke destroyed 40% of the cells on left side of my brain, including much of the left side of my cerebellum.The stroke had a number of effects on my brain and spine. My major problems are lack of balance and a pinched nerve between my 4th and 5th vertebrae. I rehabbed at the University of Maryland' Kernan Rehabilitation Center, Stroke Ward. Kernan Hospital is a wonderful place. I was witness to things that were planned by brilliant doctors an executed by amazing therapists and nurses. Just before I was released from Kernan a wonderful speech therapist recommended that I go online and sign up for Lumosity, said to be a large set of "brain games." I would describe those so-called brain games more as brain exercises. They have helped me tremendously. There are a number of categories and a lot exercises in each category. The system stores and analysis all of your completed exercises and suggests your Lumosity Performance Index (LPI) by age group. Mine is now 89th percentile for the 70-74 age group, whatever that means. I think it means a lot, mainly that I have exercised a lot and improved quite a bit. I really never had much trouble with speech (as I hope you have wife says it's over developed). It has improved my eyesight, especially my lazy right eye, and my digital dexterity particular in typing. it also calms me and provides a sense that I am still mentality vital, which is not bad for $4.95 a month.
I don't know whether the answer to Ray Engel's question is yes or no; either way, I strongly recommend Lumosity. Well, it couldn't hurt.

Serendip Visitor's picture

age of different parts of the human brain

How long ago did the different parts of the brain appear?

silverfox's picture

eating raw cat...thats the cats meow!

Pardon the really bad pun (P-U), its affects nothing. Its pure protein, fat and ligaments. All animals, if you watch closely are either predator or prey. Cats are prey to bigger animals, and predators to rodents, horses are prey, dogs, mostly predators..I have it all. I watched them carefully since one of my hobby is anthropology. They care, they cry, they get hungry, they get angry. They have emotion, contrary to popular belief

Serendip Visitor's picture

Odd Question

How does eating raw cat affect your brains?

MagicalBeans's picture

It does not, unless the acat

It does not, unless the acat contains some disease or virus due to undercooking. Cat meat contains the same proteins (maybe a few variances) from pig/cow meat. I'm not sure why you would eat a raw cat (I prefer raw turtle) but there should be no extra effects

Ray Enright's picture

brain systems & behaviur

I'm 83yrs and having a problem with my 79yrs wife and 49yrs son who seem to be in what is described as a co-dependent relationship. This relationship doesn't so much exclude me and others as define us emotionally in a way that results in exclusion. Their defining of us seems less based on fact and more on imagined subjectivity of fact. Example: My son had a device looking like a plyers about 15" long and a 'C' shaped bit. He calmly speculated what it was made to do. I suggested frivilously that it might be used to circumsize horses. He immediatly went into a rage, among other things approaching and threatening to brain me with the device. (I later remembered the device is used to leaver nails from horseshoes.)
I became aware many years ago my body needs to be used or it begins to atrophy, hence a continued exercise program. I'm wondering if the brain also needs exercising and in some cases will demand that exercising spontaneously if it isn't provided in the environment. In my son's case I'm wondering about his limbic system needing a workout that isn't available in his present life-style and used to be. Some people seems to get an emotional workout vicariously in our passive culture by reading or watching emotional events such as sports. Some people are satisfied with water; some prefer alcohol.
This highly emotional response on the part of my son isn't limited to me. It has happened so often with other family members excluding his mother that they avoid him and with friends such that he no longer has any.

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