This review examines aspects of cetacean brain structure related to behaviour and evolution. Major considerations include cetacean brain-body allometry, structure of the cerebral cortex, the hippocampal formation, specialisations of the cetacean brain related to vocalisations and sleep phenomenology, paleoneurology, and brain-body allometry during cetacean evolution. These data are assimilated to demonstrate that there is no neural basis for the often-asserted high intellectual abilities of cetaceans. Despite this, the cetaceans do have volumetrically large brains. A novel hypothesis regarding the evolution of large brain size in cetaceans is put forward. It is shown that a combination of an unusually high number of glial cells and unihemispheric sleep phenomenology make the cetacean brain an efficient thermogenetic organ, which is needed to counteract heat loss to the water. It is demonstrated that water temperature is the major selection pressure driving an altered scaling of brain and body size and an increased actual brain size in cetaceans. A point in the evolutionary history of cetaceans is identified as the moment in which water temperature became a significant selection pressure in cetacean brain evolution. This occurre...Continue Reading
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In contrast to many other mammals, cetaceans have relatively small hippocampi that appear to lack adult neurogenesis
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Morphology and evolutionary biology of the dolphin (Delphinus sp.) brain--MR imaging and conventional histology
A Comparison of the Cortical Structure of the Bowhead Whale (Balaena mysticetus), a Basal Mysticete, with Other Cetaceans
Virtual reconstruction of cranial endocasts of traversodontid cynodonts (Eucynodontia: Gomphodontia) from the upper Triassic of Southern Brazil
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Higher neuron densities in the cerebral cortex and larger cerebellums may limit dive times of delphinids compared to deep-diving toothed whales
When the brain goes diving: transcriptome analysis reveals a reduced aerobic energy metabolism and increased stress proteins in the seal brain
Timing and context of dolphin clicks during and after mine simulator detection and marking in the open ocean
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Amplification of potential thermogenetic mechanisms in cetacean brains compared to artiodactyl brains.
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