Developmental structure in brain evolution

  title={Developmental structure in brain evolution},
  author={Barbara L. Finlay and Richard B. Darlington and Nicholas Nicastro},
  journal={Behavioral and Brain Sciences},
  pages={263 - 278}
How does evolution grow bigger brains? It has been widely assumed that growth of individual structures and functional systems in response to niche-specific cognitive challenges is the most plausible mechanism for brain expansion in mammals. Comparison of multiple regressions on allometric data for 131 mammalian species, however, suggests that for 9 of 11 brain structures taxonomic and body size factors are less important than covariance of these major structures with each other. Which structure… 

Mosaic evolution of brain structure in mammals

Comparative data is analysed to demonstrate that mosaic change has been an important factor in brain structure evolution, and shows that brain structures with major anatomical and functional links evolved together independently of evolutionary change in other structures.

Understanding the Evolution of Mammalian Brain Structures; the Need for a (New) Cerebrotype Approach

The cerebrotype approach developed here could constitute an adequate level of analysis for evo-devo studies, and by extension, for a wide range of disciplines related to brain evolution.

Evolution of the human brain: when bigger is better

  • M. Hofman
  • Biology, Psychology
    Front. Neuroanat.
  • 2014
The object of this review is to present current perspectives on primate brain evolution, especially in humans, and to examine some hypothetical organizing principles that underlie the brain's complex organization.

Brain Evolution in Vertebrates

Précis of Principles of Brain Evolution

  • G. Striedter
  • Psychology, Biology
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences
  • 2006
This book delves into rules of brain development and asks how changes in brain structure impact function and behavior, and focuses specifically on how mammal brains diverged from other brains and how Homo sapiens evolved a very large and “special” brain.

Brain reorganization, not relative brain size, primarily characterizes anthropoid brain evolution

  • J. SmaersC. Soligo
  • Biology, Psychology
    Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
  • 2013
Patterns of mosaic change in brain evolution are identified that mirror brain systems previously identified by electrophysiological and anatomical tract-tracing studies in non-human primates and functional connectivity MRI studies in humans and demonstrate deep evolutionary roots for mosaic patterns associated with motor control and learning.

Placental morphology and the cellular brain in mammalianevolution

The degree to which disparate brain regions evolve in concert is shown to be generally conserved in Eutheria, although a derived ability to evolve regions independently is observed along the primate lineage.

Primate brain evolution: Integrating comparative, neurophysiological, and ethological data

Recent work demonstrates the value of examining how evolutionary changes at different anatomical levels interrelate, and takes great care in the use of comparative methods and in finding multiple converging strands of comparative evidence.



Does bigger mean better? Evolutionary determinants of brain size and structure.

  • F. Aboitiz
  • Biology
    Brain, behavior and evolution
  • 1996
It is suggested in this paper that in evolution body weight and ecological conditions have different effects on brain structure, resulting in distinct differences in neural architecture, even if both factors may produce brain size increases.

Linked regularities in the development and evolution of mammalian brains.

Analysis of data collected on 131 species of primates, bats, and insectivores showed that the sizes of brain components, from medulla to forebrain, are highly predictable from absolute brain size by

Does Bigger Mean Better? Evolutionary Determinants of Brain Size and Structure (Part 2 of 2)

It is suggested in this paper that in evolution body weight and ecological conditions have different effects on brain structure, resulting in distinct differences in neural architecture, even if both factors may produce brain size increases.

Implications of the “initial brain” concept for brain evolution in Cetacea

Although the dolphin brain has certain quantitative characteristics of the evolutionary changes seen in the higher terrestrial mammals, it has also retained many of the conservative structural features of the initial brain, and its neocortical organization is accordingly different, largely in a quantitative sense, from that of terrestrial models of theInitial brain such as the hedgehog.

Patterns of Vertebrate Neurogenesis and the Paths of Vertebrate Evolution

Changes in overall rate of neural maturation distinguish related subclasses, such as marsupial and placental mammals, and changes in duration of neurodevelopment distinguish species within subclasses.

Neocortical Expansion: An Attempt toward Relating Phylogeny and Ontogeny

  • H. Killackey
  • Biology, Psychology
    Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience
  • 1990
The primary proposition put forth is that the mammalian neocortex is relatively unspecified by strict genetic means, and that this allowed the neocortex to expand and adapt to a variety of circumstances during the course of phylogeny.

The evolution of complex sensory systems in mammals.

  • J. Kaas
  • Biology
    The Journal of experimental biology
  • 1989
Changes in the generation and specialization of neurons, alterations in the developmental timing that modify internal and external influences on neuron activity patterns seem to have a major role in the construction and maintenance of organization in the nervous system.

Evolution and ontogeny of neural circuits

  • S. Ebbesson
  • Biology, Psychology
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences
  • 1984
These findings suggest that in many neuronal systems axons do not invade unknown territories during evolutionary or ontogenetic development but follow in their ancestors' paths to their ancestral targets; if the connection is later lost, it reflects the specialization of the circuitry.

Relative brain size and basal metabolic rate in terrestrial vertebrates

Re-examination of brain–body size relationships for large samples of species from three major vertebrate groups now shows that there is no empirical foundation for the concept of scaling to body surface area, and it seems that brain size may be linked to maternal metabolic turnover.

Control of Cell Number and Type in the Developing and Evolving Neocortex

I would like to take advantage of this forum to speculate on the relationship of encephalization to current research on the ontogenetic regulation of neuron number and type in the cortex.