Bird brains might actually be quite useful .Their truly puny size may empower them to perform complex cognitive tasks usually related to mammalian brains. This being the case, the writers of a fresh study in the journal Trends in Cognitive Science assert that specific high level mental abilities might not depend on construction or brain size, but on the kinds of connectivity located within the brain.
In mammalian brains, an area called the prefrontal cortex (PFC) governs executive functions including working memory, reasoning, as well as the capacity to empathize with others.
The existence of the kind of arrangement has thus been identified as a vital precursor to the complex cognitive skills possessed solely by mammals.
Nevertheless, numerous studies within recent decades have suggested that some birds may actually possess similar mental aptitudes to particular species of primates. In one such study, an African grey parrot named Alex used communication abilities to solve a variety of cognitive tasks and learned to tag items. Other experiments have revealed that ravens use others to deceive when competing for food, while jackdraws and magpies seem to understand themselves in a mirror, suggesting a degree of self awareness.
In light of such signs, the writers of the brand new study indicate that bird brains must include an equivalent to the PFC, which organize executive function yet takes a volume that is considerably smaller compared to mammalian cortex.
Beginning with the work of Harvey Karten, who revealed that though mammalian and avian brains differ in construction, they really include a lot of the same kinds of patterns and neurons of connectivity. Additional studies have suggested that harm to the NCL seriously interrupts fowl’ “decision making, rule tracking, encoding of subjective values, as well as the organization of results to activities.”
Unexpectedly, however, both of these constructions are not completely similar in both their place inside the mind as well as in kind. As an example, the NCL will not include laminae, apparently discrediting the opinion that the layered construction of the PFC is essential for the growth of cognitive abilities that are complex. Instead, the kind of connectivity between neurons might be a dependable supply of mental aptitude.
Also, as the evolutionary lines of mammals and fowl diverged some 300 million years back, the researchers propose they likely did although this connectivity is inherited by both but evolved to possess it independently.
Therefore, they maintain that “the NCL and PFC potentially represent a dramatic instance of evolutionary convergence,” which refers to the method where unrelated species grow exactly the same evolutionary characteristics.