Some birds can perform amazing cognitive feats — even though their forebrains seem to just consist of lumps of grey cells, while mammalian forebrains harbour a highly complex neocortex. A study reveals for the first time amazing similarities between the neocortex of mammals and sensory brain areas of birds: both are arranged in horizontal layers and vertical columns.
These findings refute 150-year-old assumptions. The team, published its findings in the journal Science from 25. September 2020.
The largest brains
Birds and mammals have the largest brains in relation to their body. Apart from that, however, they have little in common, according to scientific opinion since the 19th century: mammalian brains have a neocortex, i.e. a cerebral cortex that’s made up of six layers and arranged in columns perpendicular to these layers. Avian brains, on the other hand, look like clumps of grey cells.
“Considering the astonishing cognitive performance that birds