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Humpback whales have brain cells also found in humans

relative scarcity of information on many cetacean species, it is important to note in this context that sperm whales, killer whales, and certainly humpback whales, exhibit complex social patterns that included intricate communication skills, coalition-formation, cooperation, cultural transmission and tool usage," the authors state. "It is thus likely that some of these abilities are related to comparable histologic complexity in brain organization in cetaceans and in hominids."

The authors conclude: "Cetacean and primate brains may be considered as evolutionary alternatives in neurobiological complexity and as such, it would be compelling to investigate how many convergent cognitive and behavioral features result from largely dissimilar neocortical organization between the two orders." They also suggest that the current study provides a framework for further investigations into the brain and behavior of cetaceans, which are naturally elusive, poorly documented and often endangered.


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Contact: Amy Molnar
amolnar@wiley.com
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
27-Nov-2006


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