Power law relationship for folding applies across species
Suzana and Luiza Herculano-Houzel
Cramming a big brain into a skull may be as easy as just wadding it up. The same physical rules that dictate how a paper ball crumples also describe how brains get their wrinkles, scientists suggest July 3 in Science.
That insight, arrived at in part by balling up sheets of standard-sized A4 office paper, offers a simple explanation for the ridges and valleys that give rise to thoughts, memories and emotions. The results also explain the shapes of a multitude of mammal brains ranging from the ultrawrinkled dolphin brain to the smooth brain of manatees, says study coauthor Suzana Herculano-Houzel. “There are no outliers.”
Other researchers argue that the simple physical explanation ignores clear evidence of other factors involved, such as nerve cell production and the behavior of genes. How the brain folds is still very much up for debate, they say. “It could very well be