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Evolution granted the human mind unique neural networks

Wim Vanduffel, a neurology professor at Harvard University Medical School, and Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (in Flanders, Belgium), have published an interesting new study examining how the human brain differs from the brain of Rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta).

According to the study authors, it was hypothesized that humans have different functional cortical networks than monkey brains, as a product of evolution.  However, most research thus far has focused on similar activity between monkey and human brains.

The new study uses a burgeoning brain imaging technique -- fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) -- to detect activity in the brain as evidenced by bloodflow changes.  Monkeys were found to have one unique network active during movie watching, while humans had two other unique networks.

Rhesus macaque
Rhesus macaque monkey [Image Source: Mark Snelson]

Describes Professor Vanduffel:

We did functional brain scans in humans and rhesus monkeys at rest and while watching a movie to compare both the place and the function of cortical brain networks. Even at rest, the brain is very active. Different brain areas that are active simultaneously during rest form so-called 'resting state' networks. For the most part, these resting state networks in humans and monkeys are surprisingly similar, but we found two networks unique to humans and one unique network in the monkey.

When watching a movie, the cortex processes an enormous amount of visual and auditory information. The human-specific resting state networks react to this stimulation in a totally different way than any part of the monkey brain. This means that they also have a different function than any of the resting state networks found in the monkey. In other words, brain structures that are unique in humans are anatomically absent in the monkey and there no other brain structures in the monkey that have an analogous function. Our unique brain areas are primarily located high at the back and at the front of the cortex and are probably related to specific human cognitive abilities, such as human-specific intelligence.

Humans and Rhesus monkeys are thought to have diverged on the evolutionary tree around 25 million years ago.

The new study was published in The Journal of Neuroscience.  Dante Mantini, a researcher at KU Leuven and D'Annunzio University in Chianti, Italy was listed as the first author.

Sources: KU Leuven, The Journal of Neuroscience

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By p05esto on 2/25/13, Rating: 0
RE: Meh
By astralsolace on 2/25/2013 11:22:29 PM , Rating: 5
What.. the.. fuq?

RE: Meh
By MechanicalTechie on 2/25/2013 11:27:50 PM , Rating: 5
I'm guessing drugs... good quality drugs!!

RE: Meh
By cyberguyz on 2/26/2013 7:05:32 AM , Rating: 2
I wonder if he will share....

RE: Meh
By JKflipflop98 on 2/26/2013 9:11:52 PM , Rating: 2
Hardcore religion is far worse than any drug.

RE: Meh
By lagomorpha on 2/25/2013 11:29:33 PM , Rating: 5
Poe's law. No way to tell if he's making a joke about fundamentalists or actually a real fundamentalist because it is not possible to parody them using hyperbole because they have already approached the maximum possible value for stupidity.

RE: Meh
By TSS on 2/26/2013 3:27:00 AM , Rating: 2
Einstein would disagree on that maximum value i'm sure.

RE: Meh
By daboom06 on 2/26/2013 11:47:47 AM , Rating: 2
clearly not a fundamentalist. he referenced good planning for the mars rover as gods work. it sounds more like he's just hating on the people he thinks are peeing all over his common sense all the time.

i like me a good parody, but he should have left out the 'lol's. it's out of character. fundamentalists can't possibly be happy with the state of the world.

RE: Meh
By rs2 on 2/25/2013 11:42:55 PM , Rating: 2
Monkeys turning into humans, lol...

You spelled "evolving" wrong.

I bet the universe and millions of animals just magically appeared out of no where, yep must be what happened.

Physics is not magic. But yes, that's pretty much what happened. Over the span of billions of years. So probably you didn't mean to say "appeared" there, either.

Spontaneous appearance of a universe full of second and third generation stars and at least one planet with complex life would indeed be magic. Or something out of a story-book about things that didn't actually happen.

No creative or logical thinking behind the universe at all, just random asteroids floating around.

And stars, and planets, and other things, some of which we probably haven't discovered yet. Mostly bound together by gravity, so not really just "floating around".

You can send a space shuttle to Mars and have it land on the exact spot and time of perfect rotation years earlier because the timing out there is PERFECT?

No, the space shuttle has never been to Mars. And even if it had, it would have to land on a runway (or similarly clear, flat area). The space shuttle does not land vertically.

RE: Meh
By mmarianbv on 2/26/2013 2:54:33 AM , Rating: 3
billions years to get a working cell, and 1-2 millions for only humans to evolve. rest of the reign stays pretty much the same. (in term of intelligence)
that seems legit.
not saying that evolution is wrong, but there are some mighty blind spots there.

RE: Meh
By TheSlamma on 2/26/2013 10:34:54 AM , Rating: 2
Well just fill it in with a wizard that casts spells or something

RE: Meh
By ppardee on 2/26/2013 3:12:45 PM , Rating: 2
Oh please! Get real, Slamma. If people weren't intelligent yet, where did the wizard come from? Are you going to say he went back in time to cast the spell? Sounds like a paradox to me!

RE: Meh
By kerpwnt on 2/27/2013 3:03:23 AM , Rating: 2
The time traveling wizard is definitely a paradox.

Everybody knows it was a guy with white hair and fiery loins that existed before energy and matter existed.

RE: Meh
By ppardee on 2/27/2013 5:36:02 PM , Rating: 2
White hair and fiery loins? Bill Clinton?

Either way, you need an original mover. The 'new new' physics math says its possible, based on the rules of the universe, for all of the energy and matter in the universe to spontaneously come into being, but where did the universe come from? It all sounds like a bunch of malarkey to me.

RE: Meh
By althaz on 2/25/2013 11:44:02 PM , Rating: 2
It's weird that you think chance is the same thing as math.

RE: Meh
By Flunk on 2/25/2013 11:44:27 PM , Rating: 2
That's straight Juggalo wisdom man, J and Shaggy would be proud.

RE: Meh
By geekman1024 on 2/26/13, Rating: 0
RE: Meh
By kerpwnt on 2/27/2013 3:06:37 AM , Rating: 3
Duh. If you want Dog to evolve, you have to use the Water, Fire, or Thunder Stone on it!

RE: Meh
By M'n'M on 2/26/2013 3:10:06 AM , Rating: 2
Perhaps the title should have been "Study Confirms How SOME Human Brains Differ from Monkey Brains".

RE: Meh
By geekman1024 on 2/26/2013 3:36:37 AM , Rating: 2
"Study Confirms How SOME Human Brains works SAME AS Monkey Brains"

More appropriate.

RE: Meh
By FaaR on 2/26/2013 12:19:25 PM , Rating: 2
Would have been more interesting if they'd studied ape brains instead, as monkeys evolved separately from our ancestors. We're not directly related.

RE: Meh
By Graviton on 2/26/2013 7:53:56 PM , Rating: 3
Chimps, gorillas, orangutans, and gibbons are more closely related to us than the species used in this experiment. Chimps are our closest living relatives. However, we aren't descended from any of them. They are our cousins. We have ancestors in common with them, but no living examples exist since they all evolved into these different things or died off.

RE: Meh
By conejo99 on 2/26/2013 2:39:24 PM , Rating: 1
I'm reminded of a couple good science fiction stories where the universe (or life on earth) actually was created by an outside intelligence. Then the scientific orthodoxy gets painted as small minded doubters of the increasingly obvious truth.
Polite agnosticism is the best policy.

There's still some confusion, however......
By marvdmartian on 2/26/2013 8:08:38 AM , Rating: 2 to exactly how the human brain devolves back into a monkey brain, simply by one being voted into office at our nation's capitol.

By retrospooty on 2/26/2013 9:08:25 AM , Rating: 2
The answer is the same answer to all modern mysteries... Money.

By FaaR on 2/26/2013 12:16:08 PM , Rating: 2
I would rather say "by watching Ricki Lake/Jerry Springer/ TV shows".

As a politician, even if you think they're all crooks, at least you need to be able to deceive, an ability which monkeys aren't well known for.

By kattanna on 2/26/2013 9:49:31 AM , Rating: 2
Study Confirms How Human Brains Differ from Monkey Brains

they confirmed they taste different?

RE: taste?
By ProZach on 2/27/2013 2:53:12 PM , Rating: 2
"Ah! Dessert... chilled monkey brains."

Only one thing
By Shuxclams on 2/26/2013 4:02:11 PM , Rating: 2
Only one thing comes to mind;

checkmate atheists

Could differences come from...
By Schrag4 on 2/26/2013 4:46:43 PM , Rating: 2
...the fact that when we watch a movie, context helps us understand and think about what's going on while the movie might appear as pointless "noise" to a monkey? For instance, if people are talking in the movie, surely our brains would be engaged deciphering language, or maybe a scene showing some sort of nature might remind us of a vacation we once had. Similarly, monkeys might have their own experiences that are triggered in a way we wouldn't understand.

I'm no scientist though. Oh, and am I the only one who immediately thought of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom upon reading "Monkey Brains" in the title? I haven't seen that movie since I was very young - the banquet scene really left an impression ("chilled monkey brains").

By cyberguyz on 2/27/2013 1:15:23 PM , Rating: 2
Scientists have confirmed that humans use a different part of the brain to fling their feces.

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