In the framework of the “Fruits of Ethology” guest talk series we will have the pleasure to welcome our next speaker, Dr Pavel Němec (Department of Zoology, Charles University, Praha).
Date: 25th of May, Thursday, 15.45
Location: ELTE, Department of Ethology (South Building), Pázmány Péter sétány 1/c, 6th floor
Title: Small brains, great minds: cellular scaling rules for bird brains
Birds are remarkably intelligent, although their brains are small. Corvids and some parrots are capable of cognitive feats comparable to those of great apes. How do birds achieve impressive cognitive prowess with walnut-sized brains? We investigated the cellular composition of the brains of 28 avian species, uncovering a straightforward solution to the puzzle: brains of songbirds and parrots contain very large numbers of neurons, at neuronal densities considerably exceeding those found in mammals. Because these “extra” neurons are predominantly located in the forebrain, large parrots and corvids have the same or greater forebrain neuron counts as monkeys with much larger brains. Avian brains thus have the potential to provide much higher “cognitive power” per unit mass than do mammalian brains.
Márta Gácsi & Ádám Miklósi
Department of Ethology