Spot the Difference

Models of several animal brain hemispheres (from top: lion, cat, dog) at the Musée Fragonard d’Alfort. The colors in the models on the left hand side of the image denote areas of the brain that these animals have in common. For the veterinary students who visit this museum, it is important to identify differences in brains across species in order to properly treat the needs of different animals. For us as neuroscience students, we have also learned a lot about anatomical similarities and differences across species to better understand evolutionary brain development. For example, while a cat has more developed somatosensory areas responsible for integrating sensory information from whiskers, all vertebrates have some form of a hippocampal memory system. This demonstrates the advantage of whiskers that is specific to animals like cats versus the ability to make memories that is advantageous to a wider range of animals, including humans.

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