From fossils to mind.

Bibliographic Collection: 
Publication Type: Journal Article
Authors: de Sousa, Alexandra A; Beaudet, Amélie; Calvey, Tanya; Bardo, Ameline; Benoit, Julien; Charvet, Christine J; Dehay, Colette; Gómez-Robles, Aida; Gunz, Philipp; Heuer, Katja; van den Heuvel, Martijn P; Hurst, Shawn; Lauters, Pascaline; Reed, Denné; Salagnon, Mathilde; Sherwood, Chet C; Ströckens, Felix; Tawane, Mirriam; Todorov, Orlin S; Toro, Roberto; Wei, Yongbin
Year of Publication: 2023
Journal: Commun Biol
Volume: 6
Issue: 1
Pagination: 636
Date Published: 2023 Jun 13
Publication Language: eng
ISSN: 2399-3642
Keywords: Archaeology, Artifacts, Brain, Fossils, Phylogeny

Fossil endocasts record features of brains from the past: size, shape, vasculature, and gyrification. These data, alongside experimental and comparative evidence, are needed to resolve questions about brain energetics, cognitive specializations, and developmental plasticity. Through the application of interdisciplinary techniques to the fossil record, paleoneurology has been leading major innovations. Neuroimaging is shedding light on fossil brain organization and behaviors. Inferences about the development and physiology of the brains of extinct species can be experimentally investigated through brain organoids and transgenic models based on ancient DNA. Phylogenetic comparative methods integrate data across species and associate genotypes to phenotypes, and brains to behaviors. Meanwhile, fossil and archeological discoveries continuously contribute new knowledge. Through cooperation, the scientific community can accelerate knowledge acquisition. Sharing digitized museum collections improves the availability of rare fossils and artifacts. Comparative neuroanatomical data are available through online databases, along with tools for their measurement and analysis. In the context of these advances, the paleoneurological record provides ample opportunity for future research. Biomedical and ecological sciences can benefit from paleoneurology's approach to understanding the mind as well as its novel research pipelines that establish connections between neuroanatomy, genes and behavior.

DOI: 10.1038/s42003-023-04803-4
Alternate Journal: Commun Biol