Out of Africa, there is always something new – the unusual brains of some African mammals
Pliny the Elder is quoted as saying that something new always arises from Africa, but he wasn’t
prophetically referring to the brains of African mammals. Africa is home to 25% of all extant mammal
species, all belonging to the Eutherian, or placental, mammals, which includes humans. Mammalian
species indigenous to Africa have representatives in most major Eutherian mammal phylogenetic
orders, and range from mammals as small as the pygmy mouse through to the largest terrestrial
mammal the African elephant. This talk will present the more unusual neuroanatomical, neurochemical
and sleep findings we have made in my laboratory over the past 15 years. We have been fortunate
enough to study the brains of iconic mammal species, such as the African elephant, zebras, lions and
giraffe, and many lesser-known species such as pangolins, mole rats, springhares, golden moles, bats
and hyraxes. While the work has focussed upon the nuclei of the brain that control the sleep-wake
cycle, observations made in other systems of the brain are also of broad interest. The potential
significance of these findings and their relationships to understanding the evolutionary plasticity of the
brain and behaviour, and understanding brain function in relation to behaviour more generally, will be
presented on a case-by-case basis.
Date: 3 October 2017, 16:00 (Tuesday, 0th week, Michaelmas 2017)
Venue: Le Gros Clark Building, off South Parks Road OX1 3QX
Venue Details: Large Lecture Theatre
Speaker: Paul Manger PhD (Professor, School of Anatomical Sciences, University of the)
Organising department: Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics (DPAG)
Organiser: Prof Zoltan Molnar (Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, University of Oxford)
Organiser contact email address: zoltan.molnar@dpag.ox.ac.uk
Part of: Neuroscience Theme Guest Speakers (DPAG)
Booking required?: Not required
Audience: Members of the University only
Editor: Victoria Bullett