‘Unique’ human brain regions similar to monkeys’ brains

brain scan

Brain scans showed that regions thought to be unique to humans share similarities with the brains of monkeys.

Courtesy of Oxford Centre for Functional MRI of the Brain

Monkeys may have rudimentary brain wiring that later evolved into the connections that gave humans the ability to understand language, think flexibly and make decisions.

Brain scans of 25 humans and 25 macaques show that 11 components of the ventrolateral frontal cortex, located behind the temples, were similarly wired in both species. The results suggest that humans did not develop completely new and specialized brain systems for certain types of complex thought, researchers report January 28 in Neuron.

The scans also show that macaques do not have the lateral frontal pole, which helps humans with strategic planning, decision-making and multitasking.

Ashley Yeager is the associate news editor at Science News. She has worked at The Scientist, the Simons Foundation, Duke University and the W.M. Keck Observatory, and was the web producer for Science News from 2013 to 2015. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and a master’s degree in science writing from MIT.

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