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Human Brain Has Many More Language Connections than Chimp Brain

Evolution News
Photo credit: Rishi Ragunathan, via Unsplash.

In a study of brain scans from 50 humans and 29 chimpanzees, researchers discovered an interesting difference: The connections between language areas in the human brain are much larger than previously thought and quite different from those of the chimpanzee brain. That’s, of course, consistent with the relative complexity of human thought and language but the question had not really been examined before with a focus on one specific area.

The researchers were interested in a nerve tract that connects the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain, the arcuate fasciculus.

Chimpanzee brain connectivity seems to involve mainly the temporal lobe but in humans there is a connection towards the frontal and parietal lobes via the arcuate fasciculus.

“Our findings are purely anatomical, so it is hard to say anything about brain function in this context,” says [co-author Vitoria] Piai. “But the fact that this pattern of connections is so unique for us humans suggests that it may be a crucial aspect of brain organization enabling our distinctive language abilities.”

RADBOUD UNIVERSITY NIJMEGEN, “CONNECTIVITY OF LANGUAGE AREAS UNIQUE IN THE HUMAN BRAIN” AT SCIENCE DAILY; THE PAPER REQUIRES A FEE OR SUBSCRIPTION.

As the researchers put it in the paper, “In the anterior temporal lobe, connections shared between both species and uniquely human expansions are present. Changes to human language streams extend beyond the arcuate fasciculus, including a suite of expansions to connectivity within the temporal lobes.”

In recent years, researchers have discovered a number of other unique features of the human brain.

Read the rest at Mind Matters News, published by Discovery Institute’s Bradley Center for Natural and Artificial Intelligence.

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Evolution News & Science Today (EN) provides original reporting and analysis about evolution, neuroscience, bioethics, intelligent design and other science-related issues, including breaking news about scientific research. It also covers the impact of science on culture and conflicts over free speech and academic freedom in science. Finally, it fact-checks and critiques media coverage of scientific issues.

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arcuate fasciculusbrainbrain scanchimpanzee brainchimpanzeesfrontal lobehuman brainhumanslanguageneurosciencetemporal lobethoughtVitoria Piai