Discipline: Biological Sciences
Subcategory: Physiology and Health
Room: Virginia B
Sharee McGriff - Delaware State University
Co-Author(s): Jasmine P. Hendy, Delaware State University, Dover, DE; Chet C. Sherwood, The George Washington University, Washington, DC; Andre J Van der Kouwe, Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, MA; Emi Takahashi, Division of Newborn Medicine, Department of Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA; Christine J. Charvet, Center for Neuroscience, Department of Psychology, Delaware State University, Dover, DE
How the unique capacities of human cognition arose in evolution is a question of enduring interest. One approach is to compare brain development between humans and chimpanzees to identify modifications to developmental programs that underlie neural structures supporting complex human cognition. Yet, there is currently no systematic approach with which to find corresponding ages between humans and chimpanzees. Finding corresponding time points between humans and chimpanzees is essential in order to identify deviant developmental programs giving rise to neural structures supporting human cognition. We identify 122 corresponding transformations in humans and chimpanzees from prenatal to postnatal ages. Developmental transformations consist of temporal changes in transcription, anatomical, and behavioral milestones. We use the timing of these transformations to find corresponding ages between humans and chimpanzees. We test the accuracy of predicted ages between the two species with the use of state-of-the-art high angular resolution diffusion MR imaging to label the maturation of pathways in the developing brain. Contrary to what has been suggested, we find no evidence that prefrontal cortex growth is protracted in humans relative to chimpanzees once variation in developmental schedules are controlled for. We do, however, find that weaning is deviant in chimpanzees relative to humans. Our study provides a resource with which to find corresponding ages across humans and chimpanzees, which will enhance our ability to identify deviant developmental programs leading to the emergence of the human brain.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): National Science Foundation
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Christine Charvet, email@example.com
Role: I helped to review the scans of the different brains and helped to identify corresponding time points in the different brains.