Scientists have understood why people have a big brain – BGR

Humans are the smartest living things on Earth. Well, it may not be completely “smart”, but we are at least the most advanced creatures when it comes to brain development, and scientists really want to know why. Evolution, of course, but the real nuts of why our brains develop differently from the brains of other great apes and chimpanzees have been a mystery for a very long time. A new study has now been published in the journal Cell offers the first real insight into how the growth of the human brain differs from our closest mammalian relative.

Humans are capable of many things thanks in large part to the physical size of our brains. Our brain organs are simply much larger than chimpanzees and monkeys, and the huge number of neurons our brain has compared to primates is what helps us separate. By growing tiny samples of brain tissue in the lab, the researchers were able to spot a key difference in the early development of the human brain compared to chimpanzees and monkeys.

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When humans and primates first develop, their brains are built from what are known as the neural cells of the progenitor. These are stem-like cells that multiply over and over again and eventually form neurons. The equation is simple because more progenitor cells mean more neurons down the path, and it turns out that human progenitor cells behave differently from monkey and chimpanzee stem cells.

By observing the proliferation behavior of pedigree cells in primates, the researchers found that the cells continued to multiply at a high rate for about five days before maturation and deceleration. This is much longer than in mice, where the cells have been shown to mature in a few hours. This extended time frame means that primates have increased the power of the brain and larger brain organs, but the cells of the human race raise it to the next level.

Research has found that human progenitor cells continue to proliferate until a full week before transition. Since cell multiplication is an exponential thing, an additional two days of multiplication means many more cells and eventually neurons in humans.

“We found that a delayed change in the shape of the cells in the early brain was enough to change the course of development, helping to determine the number of neurons created,” said Dr. Madeline Lancaster, lead author of the study. statement. “It is remarkable that a relatively simple evolutionary change in cell shape could have major implications for brain evolution. I feel like we’ve really learned something fundamental about issues that have interested me for as long as I can remember – what makes us human. “

Further research revealed that the difference in cell behavior could be controlled by the ZEB2 gene. Interestingly, by slowing down the activity of the ZEB2 gene in primate tissue, brain organoids grown in the laboratory became more similar to humans. So, if we slow down the ZEB2 gene in human development, would that lead to an extremely smart man? We just don’t know… yet.

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Mike Wehner has reported on technology and video games over the past decade, covering the latest news and trends in VR, wearable equipment, smartphones and future technologies. Most recently, Mike served as technology editor at The Daily Dot, and was featured in USA Today, Time.com, and countless other websites and print shops. His love of reporting comes second after gambling addiction.

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