As we all know, dolphins are specially adapted to living in an aquatic environment. Unlike most mammals, they have flippers, mostly lack hair (as adults at least), and are able to communicate highly effectively underwater. Because of this specialization to an aquatic lifestyle, their brains have been altered drastically from other mammal brains, reflecting their heavy reliance on echolocation – a rare ability among terrestrial mammals.
In order to investigate these differences, Gregory Berns et al used diffusion tensor imaging – a technique which can identify movement of molecules along connections between different parts of the brain – to reveal auditory pathways in a dolphin’s brain. They then used their results to create a series of stunning figures, included in their recent Proceedings B paper, and this beautiful video.
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