Palaeontology

Neurophilosophy

Category archives for Palaeontology

A whiff of early brain evolution

Skull of Hadrocodium wui. (Image courtesy of Mark Klinger and Zhe-Xi Luo, Carnegie Museum of Natural History) THE question of how mammals evolved their exceptionally large brains has intrigued researchers for years, and although many ideas have been put forward, none has provided a clear answer. Now a team of palaeontologists suggests that the mammalian…

Anatomy of a 300 million year-old brain

Nervous tissue is extremely fragile, and so is very well protected. The brain, which has a jelly-like consistency, is encased in the skull, and is surrounded by cerebrospinal fluid, which acts to cushion it against blows that might cause it to come into contact with the inside of its bony case. Likewise, the spinal cord…

Brain & behaviour of dinosaurs

Bones have been big news recently, following the publication of two papers which document remarkable fossil finds. First, a group of palaeontologists led by Phil Gingerich of the University of Michigan described Maiacetus inuus, a primitive whale which lived in the water but gave birth on land, and which marks the transition between modern whales…