have two functional networks in their cerebral cortex not found in
rhesus monkeys, which may have been added during evolution from
primate ancestor to human, say researchers.
Neurophysiologist Wim Vanduffel from the Unversity of Leuven
(Belgium) and Harvard Medical School, with a team of Italian and
US researchers, reported their findings, based on an analysis of
Our ancestors evolutionarily split from those of rhesus monkeys
about 25 million years ago. Since then, brain areas have been
added, have disappeared or have changed in function, according to
a Harvard statement.
Vanduffel explains: "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," said Vanduffel.
"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," said Vanduffel.
"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,"