Navigation Links
Follow your nose
Date:12/14/2011

This release is available in German.

Compared to Neanderthals, modern humans have a better sense of smell.

Differences in the temporal lobes and olfactory bulbs also suggest a combined use of brain functions related to cognition and olfaction.

The increase of brain size is intimately linked to the evolution of humanity. Two different human species, Neanderthals and modern humans, have independently evolved brains of roughly the same size but with differing shapes. This could indicate a difference in the underlying brain organization.

In a study published this week by Nature Communications, led by Markus Bastir and Antonio Rosas, of the Spanish Natural Science Museum (CSIC), high-tech medical imaging techniques were used to access internal structures of fossil human skulls. The researchers used sophisticated 3D methods to quantify the shape of the basal brain as reflected in the morphology of the skeletal cranial base. Their findings reveal that the human temporal lobes, involved in language, memory and social functions as well as the olfactory bulbs are relatively larger in Homo sapiens than in Neanderthals. "The structures which receive olfactory input are approximately 12% larger in modern humans than in Neanderthals", the authors explain.

These findings may have important implications for olfactory capacity and human behaviour. In modern humans the size of the olfactory bulbs is related to the capacity of detection and discrimination of different smells. Olfaction is among the oldest sense in vertebrates. "Also, it is the only one that establishes a direct connection between the brain and its environment", says Markus Bastir, the lead author of the study. While other senses must pass through different cortical filters, olfaction goes from the environment right into the highest centres of the brain. What is more, "olfaction never sleeps", adds Antonio Rosas, "because we always breathe and perceive smells". The neuronal circuitry of olfaction coincides with that of memory and emotion (the limbic system), "which explains the enormous memory retention and vital intensity of olfaction-mediated life events."

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, who also contributed to the current publication, could recently show differences in the patterns of brain development between modern humans and Neanderthals during a critical phase for cognitive development. "In the first year of life the brains of Neanderthals and modern humans develop differently," says Philipp Gunz from the Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig. "Modern humans have smaller faces and smaller noses than their Neanderthal cousins. However, the part of the brain that processes smells, is bigger in modern humans than in Neanderthals". "Evidence is accumulating that Neanderthals and modern humans independently evolved large brains and that their brains might have worked differently. Our new study offers a glimpse into the functional significance of these developmental differences," adds Jean-Jacques Hublin, who heads the Department of Human Evolution at the Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig.

Olfactory information projects to brain regions directly responsible for processing of emotion, motivation, fear, memory, pleasure and also attraction. Neuroscientists have coined the term "higher olfactory functions" to describe those brain functions which combine cognition (memory, intuition, perception, judgment) and olfaction. The greater olfactory bulbs and relatively larger temporal lobes in H. sapiens compared to any other human species may point towards improved and different olfactory sense possibly related to the evolution of behavioural aspects and social functions.


'/>"/>

Contact: Sandra Jacob
jacob@eva.mpg.de
49-341-355-0122
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft
Source:Eurekalert  

Related medicine news :

1. Penn researchers repair immune system in leukemia patients following chemotherapy
2. Depression, Disability Can Follow ICU Care: Study
3. Follow-up study finds prolonged fatigue for those who had chemotherapy for breast cancer
4. Few Contact Lens Users Follow All Care Guidelines, Study Finds
5. Green tea flavonoid may prevent reinfection with hepatitis C virus following liver transplantation
6. Cleveland researchers find possible breakthrough to relieve pain following spinal cord injury
7. Jefferson researchers study outcomes of carotid artery stenting following prior carotid procedure
8. Few doctors follow sudden cardiac death screening guidelines for athletes
9. Study finds shifting disease burden following universal Hib vaccination
10. Results of the PARTNER Trial Cohort B 2-year follow up presented at TCT 2011
11. People Seem More Likely to Follow Rules They Cant Beat
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Follow your nose
(Date:8/23/2017)... , ... August 23, 2017 , ... Drs. Steven White ... in Cornelius, NC. By taking advantage of this offer, valued at more than ... regular six-month hygiene cleaning from the dentist, patients receive a complimentary professional whitening procedure. ...
(Date:8/23/2017)... ... August 23, 2017 , ... ... to prove the safety and efficacy of HBOT in treating and helping to ... US, points to research showing the similarities of the wounds to the brain ...
(Date:8/23/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... August 23, 2017 , ... The Stevie® Awards have announced the winners ... Awards , the world’s premier business awards competition. , Nominees in the 2017 IBAs were ... by a points system based on the total number of awards won in the IBAs ...
(Date:8/23/2017)... ... August 23, 2017 , ... PreCheck, Inc., a ... 2017 Inc. 5000 with a three-year sales growth of 49 percent . The ... comprises the most comprehensive look at America’s independent entrepreneurs. This represents PreCheck’s fifth ...
(Date:8/23/2017)... ... August 23, 2017 , ... Arizona Spine ... nationally that earned the designation of High Performing Hospitals by U.S. News & World ... indicates a hospital was significantly better than the national average in a given ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:8/7/2017)... 7, 2017 Zimmer Biomet Holdings, Inc. (NYSE and ... that its Board of Directors has approved the payment of ... of 2017. The cash ... about October 27, 2017 to stockholders of record as of ... of dividends are subject to approval of the Board of ...
(Date:8/7/2017)... Inc. (NYSE: DPLO), the nation,s largest independent specialty pharmacy, announced ... comparisons, unless otherwise noted, are to the quarter ended June ... Quarter 2017 Highlights include: Revenue of ... Total prescriptions dispensed of 220,000, compared to ... Gross profit per prescription dispensed of ...
(Date:8/4/2017)... -- The search for test results that can be ... long been the goal of healthcare providers and the ... largest meeting of lab professionals and IVD firms this ... Kalorama Information.  The firm said scores of companies with ... and software were at the American Association for Clinical ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: