Human Brain Software

Flash Brain Anatomy

This course gives you access to a full online course and software to learn more about the brain than you ever thought possible in a short amount of time. This software contains detailed, 3D brain models, animations to display concepts, hundreds of educational courses, a neuroanatomy atlas, and compatibility with most web browsers. You will also have access to a full online suite of tutors. Neuroanatomy is one of the hardest parts of anatomy to learn, and learning the brain will really be a lot easier if you had a detailed model to base your knowledge off. This software makes the brain as simple as possible, while also giving you a way to learn it throughly. This model simplifies a very complex subject that most people struggle with Don't be one of the people that doesn't know what to do with the brain model! This course is designed to teach you everything about the brain while keeping the lessons manageable and learning at your own pace. Read more...

Flash Brain Anatomy Summary


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Highly Recommended

Some users might complain that the default interface is more complicated than it needs to be. If you just panicked grab a quick drink and relax because this baby has a full customizable interface.

However, Flash Brain Anatomy is a fairly good program considering the standard and depth of the material it provides. In addition to being effective and its great ease of use, this software makes worth every penny of its price.

The Role of Cognitive Penetration

Listening to music can be considered as a process that impinges upon innate mechanisms of coping with the sounds. Some of them act as lock-and-key and are likely to be induced by the music in a direct way. The human brain, however, is able to transcend its wired-in and reactive circuitry in order to build up new epistemic relations with its environment (Cariani, 2001, 2003 Reybrouck, 2005a). Understanding musical structures with at least some complexity, for example, is not to be explained merely in terms of mere reactive machinery, but relies on higher levels of nervous activity that can determine the perceptual outcome and cognitive functioning as well. To quote Damasio

Box Predictive testing for Huntingtons disease

Neuronal degeneration (Dragatsis et al. 2000). The consequences of an abnormally long tract of glutamine residues has been studied using transgenic mice in which the presence of the human CAG repeat expansion resulted in a severe progressive neurological phenotype showing many of the features of the human disease (Mangiarini et al. 1996). Prior to onset of the phenotype, characteristic neuronal intranuclear inclusions were noted containing huntingtin and ubiquitin (Davies et al. 1997). These proteinaceous aggregates were remarkably similar to those seen in human brain tissue from affected patients with Huntington's disease where the extent of accumulation was related to repeat length (DiFiglia et al. 1997). A variety of mechanisms including transcriptional dysregulation, disruption of axonal transport, and altered mitochondrial function have been implicated (reviewed in Orr and Zoghbi 2007).

Section Why wasnt higher IQ an advantage in all regions

1) Larger brains require larger amounts of energy. Since its neurons must be repeatedly recharged, the brain requires an amount of energy that is far out of proportion to its size. (A typical human brain contains only about 2 of the body's mass, but uses about 20 of a resting person's energy.) Larger brains, of course, require more energy than smaller ones.

Trypanosomes and the Blood Brain Barrier

The picture is further complicated by the fact that trypanosomes react differently with different host species. When African trypanosomes gain access to the human brain, little or no damage to the barrier is observed. By contrast, chronic trypanosomiasis in rats is accompanied by extensive BBB damage. However, recent evidence demonstrated the direct translocation of T. brucei across the BBB in rats during the early stages of infections (Mulenga et al. 2001). Although extravascular trypanosomes were observed near capillaries, a generalized loss of proteins in the tight junction could not be identified.

Nativism and the Wiredin Circuitry

According to Damasio, there are at least four levels which precede the stage of conscious control the level of metabolic processes, basic reflexes and the immune system the level of behaviours which are associated with the notion of pleasure or pain (reward or punishment) the level of drives and motivations - hunger, thirst, curiosity and exploration, play, and sex - and the level of emotions-proper (Damasio, 2004, p. 34). The whole machinery, however, ensures an organism's survival. Based on innate strategies, it permeates the human brain from the start of life with knowledge regarding how to manage the organism, including both the running of life processes and the handling of external events. The mechanisms, however, are rather general. It is interesting, therefore, to look for similar ones, which are related to the processing of music.

Perspectives from comparative socioecology

Patterns and correlations observed in these recent socioecological studies are sufficiently well documented and robust to provide some reasonable working guidelines for the patterns of social development during the later stages of human evolution. Two factors seem especially relevant to an analysis of the social organization of European Neanderthal populations first, the demands imposed by an increasing reliance on mainly animal food resources in the diet, particularly where this involved a major component of hunting second, the demands imposed by the general delay in rates of growth and maturation of young children which characterized the later stages of human evolution, coupled with a rapid increase in the size (and therefore the nutritional demands of early growth) of the human brain. In this context it is arguable that the second factor is more important than the first. The rapid increase in human brain size which characterized the past million years or so (see Fig. 12.1) would...

Neural Plasticity and the Role of Adaptation

All this holds also true for the process of dealing with music, with performing musicians as a typical example. Their unique training and practice involves both co-ordination and synchronisation of somatosensory and motor control on the one hand and audition on the other hand, along with the ability to memorise long and complex bimanual finger sequences, to translate musical symbols into motor sequences (sight-reading), and to perceive and identify tones absolutely in the absence of a reference tone (absolute pitch) (Pantev et al., 2003, p. 38 Schlaug, 2001). Musicians, therefore, can be used as an ideal subject pool to investigate the plastic nature of the human brain and to study functional and structural adaptation of the motor and auditory system in response to extraordinary challenges, which involve the unique requirements of skilled performance.

Chapter History Written All Over Us

Dolphins and whales, dugongs and manatees give birth to live babies, like all mammals. That habit is not actually peculiar to mammals. Many fish are livebearers, but they do it in a very different way (actually a fascinating variety of very different ways, doubtless independently evolved). The dolphin's placenta is unmistakably mammalian, and so is its habit of suckling the young with milk. Its brain is also beyond question the brain of a mammal, and a very advanced mammal at that. The cerebral cortex of a mammal is a sheet of grey matter, wrapped around the outside of the brain. Getting brainier partly consists in increasing the area of the sheet. This could be done by increasing the total size of the brain, and of the skull that houses it. But there are downsides to having a big skull. It makes it harder to be born, for one thing. As a result, brainy mammals contrive to increase the area of the sheet while staying within limits set by the skull, and they do it by throwing the whole...

Genetic Background of Language

Researchers have called attention to the fact that not only FOXP2, but also FOXP1 is expressed in functionally similar brain regions in songbirds and humans that are involved in sensorimotor integration and skilled motor control (Teramitsu et al., 2004). Moreover, differential expression of FOXP2 in avian vocal learners is correlated with vocal plasticity (Haesler et al., 2004). Mice, like man, have also two copies of the FOXP2 gene. If only one of them is affected in mice, the pups are severely affected in the ultrasonic vocalisation upon separation from their mother. This suggests a role of this gene is social communication across different species. The Purkinje cells in the cerebellum are affected in the pups (Shu et al., 2005). Determination of the expression pattern in the developing mouse and human brain is consonant with these investigations regions include the cortical plate, basal ganglia, thalamus, inferior olives, and cerebellum. Impairments in sequencing of movement and...

Correlative Comparative Methods

Phylogenetically based statistical methods allow traditional topics in comparative neuroanatomy and physiology to be addressed with greater rigor, including the form of allometric relationships among traits and whether phenotypes vary predictably in relation to behavior, ecology, or environmental characteristics (Brooks and McLennan, 1991 Frumhoff and Reeve, 1994 Losos, 1996). In a conventional regression analysis the data points represent terminal taxa. In a phylo-genetic regression the data points represent sister-taxon comparisons (Grafen, 1989). These two methods are compared in Figure 5, in which identical data are analyzed using conventional and phylogenetic regression methods. The phylogeny of Figure 5 includes six terminal taxa (TA-TF) and two outgroup taxa (O1 and O2), which are represented by two continuously distributed characters (C1 and C2). The tree topology has been determined from data other than characters 1 and 2, and the branch lengths are treated as equal (under a...

Do DAmino Acids Affect Grey Matter

D-aspartic acid enantiomers were found in the brain of rats, chickens, and humans. Here, concentrations of D-aspartic acid seem to be related to developmental stages since concentrations increase and then rapidly decrease to trace amounts again in adult tissues. For example, in the prefrontal cortex of the human brain, as much as 60 of the total aspartic acid is present in its D-configuration at week 14 of gestation, but rapidly decreases to trace levels by the time of birth (Hashimoto et al. 1993). Nagata et al. (1994) identified a similar timely distribution pattern for the concentration of D-serine in the forebrain of mammals such as mouse, rat, and bull.4

Chapter Missing Persons Missing No Longer

It was the surprising volume of the brain - which is very much too large for an anthropoid ape, and which is small compared with the average, though not smaller than the smallest human brain - that led to the now almost general view that the 'Ape Man' of Trinil, Java was really a primitive Man. Morphologically, however, the calvaria skullcap closely resembles that of anthropoid apes, especially the gibbon . . .

The Brain And The Chariot

From experiments such as those with squirrel monkeys, MacLean has developed a captivating model of brain structure and evolution that he calls the triune brain. We are obliged, he says, to look at ourselves and the world through the eyes of three quite different mentalities, two of which lack the power of speech. The human brain, MacLean holds, amounts to three interconnected biological computers, each with its own special intelligence, its own subjectivity, its own sense of time and space, its own memory, motor, and other functions. Each brain corresponds to a separate major evolutionary step. The three brains are said to be distinguished neuroanatomically and functionally, and contain strikingly different distributions of the neurochemicals dopamine and cholinesterase. At the most ancient part of the human brain lies the spinal cord the medulla and pons, which comprise the hindbrain and the midbrain. This combination of spinal cord, hindbrain and midbrain MacLean calls the neural...

The Anatomy of Speech

Fissure Rolando

The outside layers of the cerebral hemispheres of the human brain are known as the cerebral cortex. From studies of modern-day patients with brain injuries, two areas Broca's Area in the frontal lobe and Wernicke's Area in the temporal lobe are known to be essential for language production and comprehension. The Homo erectus brain was smaller and lower than modern humans' brains, suggesting that Broca's and Wernicke's Areas were not developed sufficiently for the species to speak in a human manner. Speech areas of the brain. The outside layers of the cerebral hemispheres of the human brain are known as the cerebral cortex. From studies of modern-day patients with brain injuries, two areas Broca's Area in the frontal lobe and Wernicke's Area in the temporal lobe are known to be essential for language production and comprehension. The Homo erectus brain was smaller and lower than modern humans' brains, suggesting that Broca's and Wernicke's Areas were not...

Scala Naturae versus Phylogenetic Bush

One fatal flaw in the idea that species evolve along a single scale is that, as we now know, evolution made at least some species simpler than their ancestors. Salamanders, for example, are much simpler, especially in brain anatomy (Roth et al., 1993), than one would expect from their phylogenetic position. Even more dramatically, the simplest of all As comparative neurobiologists reject the notion of a scala naturae, they stand to lose a central part of their traditional justification for working on nonhuman brains. No longer can they argue that research on other brains must be useful because nonhuman brains are always simpler, and therefore easier to comprehend, than human brains. Instead, they must admit that some nonhuman brains are stunningly complex and, more importantly, that their phyloge-netic paths toward complexity diverged from the primate trajectory. That is, complex bird, fish, or insect brains are not mere steps along the path to human brains, but the outcome of...

Future Directions of Human Evolution

Human brain size and intelligence have clearly expanded throughout most of evolution, and it would be strange if this trend should suddenly grind to a halt just as societies, and the skills needed to flourish in them, have become more complex than ever. It would be stranger still if humans, selected throughout evolution on the basis of maximum fitness, the propensity to leave as many descendants as possible, should suddenly abandon this deeply ingrained behavior. Nor is there any evidence from IQ tests to suppose that human cognitive ability is falling, as Fisher predicted. Therefore, despite the

Big Brains And Intelligence

The large human brain evolved relatively late in hominin evolution, once Homo erectus arrived on the scene. However, because the human brain is seen as the champion of human evolution, we will consider it first. The irrepressible curiosity surrounding human brain evolution is perpetuated by the very matter that is so puzzling. However, there is nothing inside the human skull that is unique (Figure 5.1). Only the relative sizes of the anatomical regions within the brain and the number of neurons and the nature of their networks are unique to humans. Primates in general have large brains compared to most mammals. In fact, Neanderthals even had bigger brains than we do, so it is the wiring of our brains (the number and nature of the neural networks), not the size of our brains, which sets humans apart. There is a specific type of spindle neuron in the human brain that is only known to exist in the brains of great apes and cetaceans (an order of mammals that includes dolphins and whales)....

Solution They Are Somewhere But the Universe Is Stranger Than We Imagine

Some might say physicists are arrogant, filled with hubris for daring to claim such success for their theories science, being the product of the human brain, cannot possibly capture the subtleties and mysteries of the universe. in my experience such people tend to accept the uFo explanation of the Fermi paradox. However, a few scientists and many SF writers have offered some interesting suggestions. They explain the paradox by supposing that the Universe is not quite what physicists think it is.150

Painting the Family Portrait

Terrestrial bipedalism is a hallmark of the whole fossil hominid family. This mode of locomotion can be inferred from fossil specimens nearly 7 million years old. It appears long before the vast growth of open grasslands in Africa and before the expansion of human brain size and recognizable stone tool-making. Besides the fossilized bones, direct evidence of early bipedalism comes from the footprints at Laetoli where two hominids were walking together in soft ash almost 4 million years ago prints that are remarkably like modern human footprints. However, looking at the skeletal evidence, especially from Lucy, the locomotion of these early hominids was not exactly identical to ours. In fact, A. afarensis seems to have been a primate equally at home in the trees or on the ground.

Relative Size versus Absolute Size

Invertebrates (Julian and Gronenberg, 2002 Mares et al., 2005). Generally speaking, those studies confirmed that in double logarithmic plots of brain size versus body size, the data points for different species within a given lineage tend to form a reasonably straight line, indicating the existence of a simple power law. The slope of those best-fit lines are almost always less than 1, which reflects the aforementioned fact that brains generally become proportionately smaller with increasing body size. The large body of work on brain-body scaling further revealed that data points for different taxonomic groups often form lines with similar slopes but different y intercepts. These differences in y intercepts are known as differences in relative brain size or encephalization. They seriously complicate efforts to draw a single allometric line for any large taxonomic group (Pagel and Harvey, 1989), but they allow us to identify evolutionary changes in relative brain size among some smaller...

Brain Epigenesis and Genelanguage Coevolution

We have just learnt in Section 3 that a very large part of the human brain can process linguistic information, including syntactical operations. This means that there is no fixed macro-anatomical structure that is exclusively dedicated to language, but some functional micro-anatomical structure must be appropriate, otherwise it could not sustain language. This further suggests that there is some statistical connectivity feature of a large part of the human brain that renders is suitable for linguistic processing. From the selectionist perspective there are three options the initial variation in synaptic connectivity is novel the means of selection on functional criteria is novel or both. Maybe both component processes are different in the relevant human brain areas, and I do not dare to speculate about their relative importance. Our claim is that the most important, and largely novel, faculty selected for was the ability of the networks to process syntactical operations on symbols...


Cognition is commonly portrayed as an abstract property of higher living organisms, and thus as a direct property of a brain. Cognitive research has focused on the capacities of abstraction, generalization, and specialization, and involves concepts like belief, knowledge, desire, preference, and intentions of intelligent individuals (or objects and systems). But cognition also means the act of knowing and can be interpreted in a social or cultural sense to describe the development of knowledge and concepts (modified from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia). Mind generally refers to the collective or combinatorial aspects of intellect, consciousness, and emotionality. As for our present understanding, the mind is a phenomenon of psychology and is thus tightly coupled to the human brain. It is clear, however, that at least certain aspects of biosemiotics that either do not involve humans or not even organisms run into difficulties with relating sign and meaning to molecular entities....

Ancestral Portrait

Consider that the anatomically modern humans of 100,000 years ago showed no signs of modern behavior. They had no apparent capacity for innovation and may have lacked the faculty of speech. Very significant evolutionary change seems to have occurred in the 50,000-year span that separates them from the behaviorally modern humans of the ancestral population. Yet that is the same span of time that separates the ancestral population from people today, allowing for an equally decisive evolutionary change. And the pace of human evolution may well have accelerated in the last 50,000 years, given the unparalleled changes in environment experienced by the ancestral people as they left their homeland, colonized strange lands and cold climates, and converted from foraging to settled life. Indeed specific evidence has now emerged suggesting that the human brain has continued to evolve over the last 50,000 years. The evidence, as described in the next chapter, rests on the finding that two new...


There was never full scientific agreement about how to fit Piltdown Man into the hominin family tree or about how to reconstruct the anatomy because there was a lack of comparative material at the time. Even when additional hominin fossils were discovered in China and Africa in the 1920s and 1930s they lacked preservation of the same parts for comparison and, furthermore, more and more hominin fossils showed that humanlike teeth evolved early while human brain size

The Rcomplex

If the preceding view is correct, we should expect the R-complex in the human brain to be in some sense performing dinosaur functions still and the limbic cortex to be thinking the thoughts of pumas and ground sloths. Without a doubt, each new step in brain evolution is accompanied by changes in the physiology of the preexisting components of the brain. The evolution of the R-complex must have seen changes in the midbrain, and so on. What is more, we know that the control of many functions is shared in different components of the brain. But at the same time it would be astonishing if the brain components beneath the neocortex were not to a significant extent still performing as they did in our remote ancestors.


Of course, there is much less privacy in the baboon and chimpanzee worlds, but they may mate secretly if codes of status and hierarchy are being breached. Also, for most primates, it is more often better to mate with more than one partner, not just in one mating cycle but throughout life. Most humans use the monogamous strategy, that is they form enduring pair-bonds (either serially or for life), but many humans are polygamous, forming long-lasting relationships between one male and multiple females instead. In either case, there is much less human male competition and also an unusually high level of male parental investment. Because of their extended period of growth and maturation, mostly dealing with the incredible amount of time required to grow the large human brain, human infants are altricial, which means that they are vulnerable and highly dependent on their parents after they are born. The opposite condition is to be precocious like newborn horses

Below the Skin

IMF uses events beyond the skin to set off behaviour. In real-time, infants prompt what caregivers think and do. A developmental trajectory emerges as nontrivial causal spread organises the IMF. Trevarthen, of course, focuses on neural reorganization that uses 'core regulatory functions that emerge in the embryo period' (Trevathen and Aitken, 2001, p. 25). IMF is traced to 'additions at the end of the human brain and around the parietotemporal junction' (p. 25). In embryo, the relevant neurons perform morphogenic functions. After birth, they are co-opted to regulating what happens beyond the skin. The infant's m-system sets off, among other things, mimetic moves. These, like much the baby does, spark value laden reorientation. So, for Trevarthen, imitation is part of a 'motivation used for purposeful negotiation of the social domain' (p. 8). It is a marker whose results depend mainly on cultural wants and desires. Thus the baby's microdynamics elicit, anticipate, and frame value-laden...


Mammalian encephalization has received considerable scientific attention, probably because the class contains two of the most encephalized orders, primates and cetaceans, and because we humans number among the 5000 or so mammal species (see Encephalization Comparative Studies of Brain Size and Structure Volume in Mammals). Mammals thus provide a valuable case study for understanding the selection pressures favoring evolutionary changes in brain size, with many hypotheses regarding brain evolution originally applied to mammals and relatively large databases of whole brain and brain component volumes available (for extensive discussion, see the articles on brain evolution in mammals, various mammalian orders, and humans, this volume, e.g., Primate Brain Evolution in Phylogenetic Context, The Evolution of Hemispheric Specializations of the Human Brain, The Evolution of Human Brain and Body Growth Patterns, Mosaic Evolution of Brain Structure in Mammals, Encephalization Comparative...

Further Reading

Deacon, T. W. 1990. Rethinking mammalian brain evolution. Nieuwenhuys, R. 1994. Comparative neuroanatomy Place, principles, practice and programme. Eur. J. Morphol. 32,142-155. Northcutt, R. G. 2001. Changing views of brain evolution. Brain

Heikea japnica crab

Illinois High Oil Selection Corn

My main reason for scepticism about the Huxley Sagan theory is that the human brain is demonstrably eager to see faces in random patterns, as we know from scientific evidence, on top of the numerous legends about faces of Jesus, or the Virgin Mary, or Mother Teresa, being seen on slices of toast, or pizzas, or patches of damp on a wall. This eagerness is enhanced if the pattern departs from randomness in the specific direction of being symmetrical. All crabs (except hermit crabs) are symmetrical anyway. I reluctantly suspect that the resemblance of Heikea to a samurai warrior is no more than an accident, much as I would like to believe it has been enhanced by natural selection.

Drakes Equation

Telegraph System Using Dots And Dashes

John Lilly, a popular researcher of dolphin intelligence, opened the Green Bank conference. He spoke about his research on communication with dolphins. Dolphins have brains slightly larger than humans and a density of brain nerve cells similar to a human brain. These facts convinced Lilly that dolphins possess intelligence comparable to humans. Lilly believed that dolphins had developed a complex language he called it dolphinese and that he would eventually decipher it. He predicted that by the 1980s, humans would establish communication with another species, if not extraterrestrial, then a marine organism on Earth.

What Is Encephalized

When a part of the nervous system is used to remove allometry, we need to specify the higher level centers that are assumed to be more closely involved with cognitively driven encephalization and the lower brain areas that can be used as the control. For this, we depend on neuroanatomy and neuropsychology. The encephalized areas can be very broad, such as the telencephalon in birds and mammals or the supraesophagal lobes in cephalo-pods. The areas chosen for the allometric control could, for example, be the brainstem in birds and mammals and the subesophagal lobes in

The Line To Humans

Rat Skeleton Labeled

The human genus Australopithecus continued to evolve in Africa from about 3 to 1.4 Ma, giving rise to further small species, and some large robust ones (Fig. 17.21a, b). The larger australopithecines reached heights of 1.75 m, but their brain capacities did not exceed 550 cm3, a rather ape-like measure. The leap forward to modern human brain sizes only came with the origin of a new human genus, Homo. The first species, H. habilis (Fig. 17.21c), lived in Africa from 2.4 to 1.5 Ma, and had a brain capacity of 630700 cm3 in a body only 1.3 m tall. H. habilis may have used tools. It is a remarkable fact that, for over 1 myr, three or four different human species lived side by side in Africa.

Archaic Homo Sapiens

The Archaic face is still prognathic but much less so than earlier hominins. Their teeth were somewhat larger than those of modern humans, although they were markedly smaller than the teeth of earlier hominins. Archaic skeletons are robust due to heavy musculature in life, and their brain size averaged about 1,200 cc (ranging from 900 to 1400 cc), which is practically the same as modern human brain sizes. Despite physical similarities to modern H. sapiens, they lacked the cultural capacities that distinguish our species. Archaic fossils are found in association with Acheulean and more complex tools but not the most complex ones that modern humans invented.

The Neocortex

Visual information from the eyes arrives in the human brain chiefly in the occipital lobe, in the back of the head auditory impressions, in the upper part of the temporal lobe, beneath the temple. There is fragmentary evidence that these components of the neo-cortex are substantially less well developed in blind deaf-mutes. Lesions in the occipital lobe-as produced by gunshot wounds, for example-frequently induce an impairment in the field of vision. The victim may be in all other respects normal but able to see only with peripheral vision, perceiving a solid, dark blot looming in front of him at the center of the normal field of view. In other cases, more bizarre perceptions follow, including geometrically regular, cursive floating impairments in the visual field, and visual fits in which (for example) objects on the floor to the patient's lower right are momentarily perceived as floating in the air to his upper left and rotated 180 degrees through space. It may even be possible to...

On Human Nature

The triune-brain model derives from studies of comparative neuroanatomy and behavior. But honest introspection is not unknown in the human species, and if the triune-brain model is The table on page 92 summarizes the fossil evidence, through 1976, on our most recent ancestors and collateral relatives. The two rather different kinds of Australopithecines were not of the genus Homo, not human they were still incompletely bipedal and had brain masses only about a third the size of the average adult human brain today. Were we to meet an Australopithecine, say, on the subway, we would perhaps be struck most by the almost total absence of forehead. He was the lowest of lowbrows. There are significant differences between the two kinds of Australopithecines. The robust species was taller and heavier, with most impressive nut-cracker teeth and a remarkable evolutionary stability. The endocranial volume of A. robustus varies very little from specimen to specimen over millions of years of time....

Homo Erectus

Turkana Boy Anatomy

H. erectus is distinguished from preceding hominins by several characteristics. The cranial capacity is increased with a range from about 750 cc to 1200 cc, which extends to within the range of modern human brain sizes (Figure 3.7). H. erectus skulls display no chins, receding foreheads, and massive, short projecting faces surmounted by well-developed browridges (which actually look more like a single horizontal visor compared to later ho-minin browridges which are smaller and sometimes 'm' shaped). They also had smaller teeth and thicker cranial bones than their predecessors.

The Limbic System

At least some of the emotion-determining role of such limbic endocrine systems as the pituitary amygdala, and hypothalamus is provided by small hormonal proteins which they exude, and which affect other areas of the brain. Perhaps the best-known is the pituitary protein,. ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone), which can affect such diverse mental functions as visual retention, anxiety and attention span. Some small hypothalamic proteins have been identified tentatively in the third ventricle of the brain, which connects the hypothalamus with the thalamus, a region also within the limbic system. The stunning pictures on page 65, taken with an electron microscope, show two close-ups of action in the third ventricle. The diagram on page 73 may help clarify some of the brain anatomy just described.


The course of human evolution) and the alternative of a relatively abrupt or 'catastrophic' transition at some point in language development - reflecting either a major genetic shift in the neurological organization of the human brain, or at least a radical cognitive 'invention' which would have revolutionized conceptual thought and associated communication patterns (e.g. Ragir 1985 Bichakjian 1989 Foster 1990 Lieberman 1990 Bickerton 1981, 1990 Pinker, 1994). The most explicit account of the 'catastrophist' hypothesis has been set out in the publications of Derek Bickerton (1981,1990). Bickerton argues for a fundamental distinction between what he refers to as 'proto-language' and fully developed, 'true' language. The theoretical basis for this distinction derives partly from studies of language development in young children and partly from similar studies of documented transitions between 'pidgin' and more complex 'creole' languages observed in many contact situations between...

Protein Linguistics

Knowledge derived from formal language grammar has been used in the past to analyze genome and proteome structures. In one approach, Sung Chul Ji 42,43 defined Cell Language as the underlying communication theory, and proposed that human language is ultimately founded on cell language a provocative and much-debated theory, that requires consequent testing in the future. Albeit the isomorphism between cell and human language is far from rationalizing how general linguistics could explain biological processes, there is a most significant contribution in this work on cell language, namely the notion that 'human language can be viewed as a transformation of cell language'. What Ji addresses in his work is the difficulty of justifying a scenario where the human brain that created language and the underlying Universal Grammar (a natural endowment to the human organism, the basic elements of which are likely to be encoded in only a very small fraction of the genetic repertoire) would be...


The existence of specific brain areas dealing with particular cognitive, sensory or motor functions implies that there need not be any perfect correlation between brain mass and intelligence some parts of the brain are clearly more important than others. Among the most massive human brains on record are those of Oliver Cromwell, Ivan Turgenev and Lord Byron, all of whom were smart but no Albert Einsteins. Einstein's brain, on the other hand, was not remarkably large. Anatole France, who was brighter than many, had a brain half the size of Byron's. The human baby is born with an exceptionally high ratio of brain mass to body mass (about 12 percent) and the brain, particularly the cerebral cortex, continues to grow rapidly in the first three years of life-the period of most rapid learning. By age six, the mass of the brain is 90 percent of its adult value. The average mass of the brain of contemporary men is about 1,375 grams, almost three pounds. Since the density of the brain, like...

Tales Of Dim Eden

Awakened at appropriate times, they admit with some surprise to having dreamt. The human brain is in a distinct physiological state while dreaming, and we dream rather often. While perhaps 20 percent of the subjects awakened during REM sleep do not recall their dreams, and some perhaps 10 percent of subjects awakened during non-REM sleep report dreams, we will, for convenience, identify REM and accompanying EEG patterns with the dream state.

Stellar Photometry

The apparent brightness of astronomical objects is usually measured in units of magnitude. The system originated with Hipparchus' division of the naked eye stars into six subgroups, with the brightest stars grouped together in the 'first magnitude' and the faintest stars visible to the naked eye described as being of the 'sixth magnitude'. The human brain eye combination tends to judge brightness differences as ratios, rather than linear differences. If there are three light sources, A, B and C, where B is twice as bright as A and C twice as bright as B, a visual observer will estimate the difference between A and B as the same as that between B and C, although in linear terms, the relative brightnesses are 1, 2 and 4, respectively. The result is that the magnitude scale is logarithmic, rather than linear, and a given difference in magnitude corresponds to a particular brightness ratio.

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