Now that you’ve become familiar with the basic organization of the vertebrate brain, it’s time for you to do some comparative neuroanatomy. If we do a comparison of brain organization across the different classes of vertebrate animals, we can see that although there is a great variability in the shape of the brain, and in the relative size of each brain region, the same basic organization is maintained (see Figure). One trend that you can see, is that as the animals are more evolved the forebrain structures (such as the cerebral hemispheres) become increasingly prominent, whereas the more primitive animals have larger hindbrain areas. Or for example, notice how the olfactory bulbs of fishes and amphibians are much more prominent relative to the rest of their brains.
In this exercise you will do a comparison between brains of different species of vertebrate animals. From the resources below, your job is to pick three different brains from three different species, and use the attached form to record the following measurements and then answer a set of questions. When picking the brains, try to use a fairly diverse set of species and hopefully at least one non-mammal.
The following resources are sites where you can find images or diagrams of various brains. For this exercise you should be able to get away with using an external view of a brain, however for some structures you might have to consult a cross-sectional brain atlas, if you are feeling adventurous. That said, if you want to only use external images or diagrams that’s fine, just do your best, even if you can’t find all the brain structures. You are welcome to use any resources you find to collect the data for the exercise.
For a large database of mammalian brains (including humans) check out the Comparative Mammalian Brian Collection. Here you will find a large database of whole brain images as well as various cross sections: http://www.brainmuseum.org/index.html
Finally, you can do a Google image search for other brain types, like this one.
There are a number of ways to submit this assignment. The trickiest part is including sketches with your assignment. You choose the option below that best suits your needs. Ideally, we would like all of your work submitted as one assignment as either a .doc, .docx, or .pdf.
1. Download the following worksheet: BrainMuseum.doc
2. Save the worksheet on your computer and rename it: LastName.FirstName.Museum.doc
3. Keep the worksheet open and toggle back and forth between the virtual lab and worksheet, making sure to answer each question based on the simulator. Remember to save regularly.
Note: To add images (.jpg, .png, .tiff, etc.) to a Word document, click 'Insert' and choose photo. For more detailed instructions from Microsoft, click here.
4. Click 'Submit Assignment' and upload your completed worksheet on this assignment page.
1. Open 'Google Docs'. (You must have a google account first. To set up a Google account, click here.)
2. Create a new 'Document'.
3. Click here and then cut and paste the assignment questions into your new Google doc. and enter your answers.
Note: To add images (.jpg, .png, .tiff) to a Google document, click 'Insert' and choose photo. For more detailed instructions from Google, click here.
4. When you are finished with your work, use the 'File' menu to rename the document as LastName.FirstName.Membrane and download it as a .pdf.
5. Click 'Submit Assignment' and upload your completed worksheet on this assignment page as .pdf.