Wednesday, 5 March 2014

"Bird brain" may be a scientific compliment

Cells coordinate for cognitive tasks during sleep with 3D pulses dispersing throughout bird brains.  Instead of an "elegant layered mammalian necortex" with 2D waves travelling within the neocortex during sleep, birds have "un-layered seemingly poorly structured nuclear masses of neurons" and a 3D wave dispersal throughout the whole structure.

"They found complex 3D plumes of brain activity propagating through the brain that clearly differed from the two-dimensional activity found in mammals. These findings show that the layered neuronal organization of the neocortex is not required for waves to propagate, and raise the intriguing possibility that the 3D plumes of activity perform computations not found in mammals.
The authors note that during the course of evolution, birds replaced the three-layered cortex present in their reptilian ancestors with nuclear brain structures. "Presumably, there are benefits to the seemingly disorganized, nuclear arrangement of neurons in the avian brain that we are far from understanding".
Plumes in the sleeping avian brain (Science Daily News)reporting on work at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology.
Who you calling bird brain?

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