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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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ScienceShot: A Complex Brain Inside a Very Big Skull
19 November 2010 10:52 am
Elephants are famous for having a good memory, but they also have complex communication skills and rich social lives. Unfortunately, scientists know virtually nothing about the 5-kilogram brain responsible for these talents. This week, in a presentation at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience and in a paper in Brain Structure and Function, scientists present the first microscopic study of neurons in the cerebral cortex of the African elephant. The cortex is the thin layer of cells on the surface of the brain that governs many functions, and in elephants it contains a greater variety of cell types (such as the extensively branched neuron pictured above) than is found in more frequently studied animals such as rodents and primates. How this complexity contributes to an elephant's smarts isn't known, but the authors say their findings suggest that evolution has found multiple ways to build a complex brain—and an intelligent beast.
See more ScienceShots.