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Intelligence:PigandHumanBrains

Graymatterandbraingyriaretwoevolutionaryenhancementstointelligencethatcanbe
visuallyfoundinboththehumanandpigbrain.Thesephysicalattributesarestrongerinhumans
thaninpigs,whichiswhyhumansarebelievedtohaveahighercognitiveabilitythanpigs.

Thereisaconsensusthatananimalwithabiggerbody,likeacoworawhale,hasabiggerbrain
becauseithaslargerandagreateramountofbodyparts,suchasmuscles,tocontrol.Butthis
wouldmakewhalesthemostintelligentcreatureifintelligencewasjustbasedonsizealone.A
physicalattributetocomparebrainsandintelligenceistolookatthebrainweightinrelationto
thebodyweight(BrainGyrification2013).

Therelativeintelligenceof[a]speciesisconsideredrelatedtohowhighaboveorbelowthebest
fitlineaspeciesis(BrainGyrification2013).Inthegraphbelow,thespeciesabovethebest
fitlineareconsideredintelligentgiventheirbodysizewhiletheanimalsbelowthelineare
consideredunintellegentfortheirbodysize.Asshowninthegraph,manisabovethebestfitline
andpigsarebelowthebestfitline.

Photocred:(Brain
Gyrification2013)

ThereisalsoanotherquantitativemeasurecalledtheEncephalizationQuotientwhichisthe
relativebrainsizebasedonactualbrainmassversusthepredictedbrainmassofananimalofa
givensize(BrainGyrification2013).HumanshaveaveryhighEncephalizationQuotientat
7.44whilepigsareonly0.27.So,aswiththesize,thereseemstobeacorrelationbetweenahigh

EncephalizationQuotientandhighcognitiveabilities,butitisnotexactlyclearweatherornotit
isacausation.

Inadditiontobrainsizeinrelationtothebody,thedensityofneuronsinthebrainisimportant
factortoconsider.Primateshavemoreneuronsinrelationtotheirbrainspacethanother
animalslikeamouse.Itisbelievedthatahigherdensityofneuronscanbeafactorcontributing
toahigherintelligencesimplyduetotheamountofimpulsesandbrainactivity.

Anotherphysicaldifferenceinbrainsthatcanbelookedatisthefoldsinthebrain.Thisiscalled
gyrification.Thesamespeciesweintuitivelyconsidermoreintelligentthatalreadywereshown
toagreaterrelativebrainsizetobodyweightratioalsoshowsimilartrendsin
gyrification(BrainGyrification2013).Thewrinklesseeninboththehumanandpigbrain
allowformoresurfacearea.Sincethebrainiscrammedintoaskull,itsimportanttohavethe
biggestsurfaceareapossible.Thefoldsoccurbecauseincreasedtensionandcrowdingof
neurons,forc[es]neuronstofoldinamannerthatincreasessurfacearea(BrainGyrification
2013).Whenthishappensinatightarealiketheskull,thewrinkleswilloccur.Morewrinkles
tendstocorrelatewithagreaterintelligencebecausethereismorecorticalneuronsinthesame
skullvolume.Mammalshavegreatergyrification,buttheexactmechanismbywhichthis
occurs,itstruesignificance,andtheimplicationsofdifferenceswithinspeciesisnot
conclusivelyknownorexplored(BrainGyrification2013).

Gyrificationisaprocessthathaspredictablebenchmarksinhumanfetaldevelopment(Brain
Gyrification2013).Whenthesefoldsdontappearliketheyresupposedto,developmental
disorderscanoccur.

Gyrencephalyiswhentherearemanyfolds.Itisacharacterizationofspecieswithhighlevels
ofgyrificationcomparedtoothers(BrainGyrification2013).Lissencephalyistheopposite.It
iswhenthebrainissmoother.Ifananimal'sbrainissmootherthanananimalofitskindusually
is,thantheymighthavedevelopmentaldelaysorevenmentalretardation.Asmootherbrainisa
resultofafailureofneuronalmigrationindevelopment(BrainGyrification2013).Thereare
alsoafewotherconditionscausedbyabnormallyshapedorsizedbrainfoldsthatleadto
developmentaldelays.Thisallsupportstheideathatthebrainfolds,orgyri,havearolein
intelligence.

Intelligencescoreswerepositivelyassociatedwiththedegreeoffoldinginthetemporoocciptal
lobe(BrainGyrification2013).Astudyshowedthatfemaleswithmorefoldsintheirfrontal
cortexscoredhigheronIQtests,whilemaleswithlessfoldsintheirfrontalcortexscoredhigher
onIQtests.Thesearesomeprettymixedresults.Becauseofthisgenderdifference,anyofficial
statementaboutwhethergreatergyrificationinnormalhumanscanbepositivelycorrelatedto

intelligence[is]invalid(BrainGyrification2013).However,sinceIQtestsarebiasedanyway,
itisnotstrongevidencetosupporttheidea.

Abnormalitiesinthefoldsarefoundinpeoplewithconditionssuchasschizophreniaandautism.
Forexample,individualswithautismhavethesamebrainsurfacearea,butincreasedfolds.
Thereisatheorythatthosewithautismhaveatypicalexcessivelyearlybraindevelopment,
whichnegativelyaffectsnormallearninganddevelopmentbutsometimesinvolvessavantlike
abilitiesinveryspecificcognitivetasks(BrainGyrification2013).Thiscouldmeanthat
peoplewithgreatergyrificationindifferentpartsoftheirbrainshaveextraordinaryabilitiesdue
totheshapesizeoftheirbrainfoldsthataredifferentinthevariouspartsofthebrain.Evenif
theyhaveadisorderthathindersmanyabilities,theycanbeamazingataspecificabilitylikeart.

Allthisevidencesuggeststhatitismostlikelyfairtoassumethatmorecorticalneuronsequate
agreatercapacityforcognition(BrainGyrification2013).Sonow,scientistsaretryingto
figureoutifintelligenceisgeneticorduetoenvironmentalfactors.Currently,therearenogenes
associatedwithincreasinggyrification.However,scientistshavefoundthatpeoplewhomeditate
havegreaterfolds.So,theycoulddofurthertestingtoseeifmeditatingcanchangethegyriin
individuals.

MRIscanbeusedtolookatandmeasurebrainstructure.AccordingtomeasurementswithMRI
tests,Brainstructure...correlateswithintelligencetestscores(BrainGyrification2013).This
includesjusttotalbrainvolumeaswellasthethevolumesofindividuallobesandgrayand
whitemattervolumes(Toga&Thompson,2012).

Unlikewiththegyri,scientistsknowforsurethatGreymatterdensityisaheritabletrait(Toga
&Thompson,2012).Whencomparinggraymattertowhitematter,itisthegraymatterwhere
intelligenceisfound.Neuralconnectionsoccurinthisoutsidelayerofthebrainthecortex.
Identicaltwinsraisedindifferentenvironmentsstillscoredverysimilarly.Theevidencefrom
thesestudiessupportstheideathatintelligencecanhavegeneticfactors.However,thisusedIQ
testswhichcanbebiasedsincethestudiesallsupportedtheideaofaGfactorwhichistheidea
thatpeoplehaveasingleoverarchingintelligence.RecentMRIstudiesshowthatdifferencesin
frontalgraymattervolumescorrelatewithgbecausephysiologically,reactiontimes,nerve
conductionvelocity,orcerebralglucosemetabolismduringproblemsolvingareattributedto
thebrainstructureandanoverarchingintelligence(Toga&Thompson,2012).

MRItestscanmeasurethedifferentregionsofthebrainthatareactivewithdifferenttypesof
intelligence.Thesetestsshowedthattheneuralsystemsinthefrontalandparietallobeswere
activatedwhiledoingcognitivetasks.Thissuggeststhattheseregionsinteracttocontributeto
g(Toga&Thompson,2012).


Buttheenvironmentisveryimportanttoo.environmentalstimulationcanaltersynaptic
densitiesinthecortexofrodentsrearedinimpoverishedversusenrichedenvironments(Toga&
Thompson,2012).Thisstudyonrodentsshowedthatthoseraisedinbetterenvironmentswere
betterproblemsolvers.

Crystilizedintellegenceisalltheknowledgeoneaccumulatesovertheirlifespan.Theabilityto
applythisknowledgeseemstobeinfluencedbyenvironmentalfactorssuchaseducation.Fluid
intelligence,however,referstoanalyticalreasoningability,aswellasmemoryandinformation
processingspeed(Toga&Thompson,2012).Itisbelievedthatfluidintelligenceisgenetically
determined.

MRIscanscanbeusedtolookattissuecontrast.Thisallowsforpeopletotrackcorticalgray
andwhitematterdifferencesinindividualsubjects(Toga&Thompson,2012).MRIscanalso
measurecorticalasymmetrieswhichtiesbacktogyrification.Thesescanscanbeusedtohelp
comparecorticalfeaturesofsubjectswhoseanatomydiffers,bycomparingtheindividuals
gyralpatternstoagroupaveragegyralpattern(Toga&Thompson,2012).

Graymatterwanesinabacktofrontwaveasthebrainmaturesandneuralconnectionsare
pruned.Areasperformingmorebasicfunctionsmatureearlierareasforhigherorderfunctions
(emotion,selfcontrol)maturelater.Theprefrontalcortex,whichhandlesreasoningandother
executivefunctions,emergedlateinevolutionandisamongthelasttomature.Intriguingly,this
sequenceofbrainchangesisreversedinAlzheimer'sdisease(Toga&Thompson,2012).This
justmeansthatgraymatterisafactorintheevolutionofintelligence.Asthebraingrows,it
mastersbasicskills,andthenovertime,moreandmorecomplexskills.Whenpeoplehave
Alzheimers,theylosesomeoftheircognitiveabilities,soitslikegrowingbackwardstoamore
basicstate.

So,intermsofgenetics,graymatterishighlyheritableandgyralpatternsaremuchless
heritable.Sincethebrainhasdifferentparts,theywillnotallbecreatedbythesameexactgene.
Somegenesmaythereforehaveageneraleffectonthebrain,whereasothergenesmayaffect
specificvolumes(Toga&Thompson,2012).Forexample,thesizeofapersonshippocampusis
notveryheritable.

Therearealsocertaingenesassociatedwithdifferentcognitiveabilities.Forexample,amutation
inthehumanbrainderivedneurotrophicfactor(BDNF)geneisassociatedwithpoormemory
performanceandwithworkingmemoryactivation[as]mappedwithfMRI(Toga&Thompson,
2012).

Brainmappingwiththeseimagingtechniquescancreatecontextforevaluatingthesegenetic
influences[by]examin[ing]allelesovertransmittedtoindividualswithspecificdiseasessuchas
dementiaorschizophrenia(Toga&Thompson,2012).So,findingacertainallelethatoccurs
morefrequentlythannormalinpeoplewhohaveacertaindiseaselikealzheimer'scanhelp
predictthedisease.Brainstructureisoftensignificantlydifferentfromnormalinsubjectswho
areatgeneticriskforabraindisorderbutwhoarecognitivelynormal(Toga&Thompson,
2012).Sincetheseindividualshaveageneticriskofgettingadiseaseitsimportanttofindthese
patternseveniftheyseemperfectlyfineandnormalatthemoment.

Differencesingraymattercanbefoundnotjustinschizophrenicpatients,butGraymatter
deficitsarealsofoundinhealthyfirstdegreerelativesofschizophreniapatients(Toga&
Thompson,2012).

TheGfactor,orintellectualfunction,hasalsobeenlinkedwithdifferencesingraymatter
volumes.Frontalbrainregionsplayakeyroleinworkingmemory,executivefunction,and
attentionalprocesses,andtheirstructurehasrapidlyexpandedinrecentprimateevolution,
consistentwiththeirroleinreasoningandintellectualfunction(Toga&Thompson,2012).So,
graymatter,whichcanbegeneticallypassedon,hasabigroleinintelligence.Theevidenceused
tosupportacorrelationbetweenintelligenceandheritablebrainstructureistypicallythe
correlationbetweenIQscoreandfrontalgraymattervolume.

Thereisacorrelationbetweengenesandtheenvironment.Forexample,graymattervolume
maybecorrelatedwithintelligencepartlybecausemoreintelligentindividualsseekoutmentally
challengingactivitiesthatincreasethevolumeoftheirgraymatter(Toga&Thompson,2012).
But,sincetherearesomanyvariableincognitionstudies,environmentalinfluenceson
intelligencearehardtoidentify(Toga&Thompson,2012).

Also,theenvironmentbringstheideaofneuroplasticity.ThisisobservablewithMRI,thereis
alreadyevidencethatthehumanbrainmayadaptdynamicallytoreflectthecognitivedemandsof
theenvironment(Toga&Thompson,2012).Neuroplasticityinhumans,canallowthecerebral
graymattertoadaptinresponsetoenvironmentaldemands.

Eventhoughhumansconsiderthemselvesthetoptogsintermsofthefoodchain,humansalso
believethemselvestobemoreintelligentthanotherspecies.Humansdorecognizecognitive
abilitiesinotheranimals.Forexample,Bothdomesticandwildspecies[ofpigs]areknownfor
theirabilitytoadapttoavarietyofdifferentecologicalconditions(Top102012).

Pigsandhumansarebothmammalsandhavesimilarbrainstructures.Pigsalsohaveasimilar
diettohumansandwhentheyhavebeenintroducedaroundtheworld,pigstendtooutcompete

thenativespecies.Thoughdevastatingtothenativespecies,thistrendisyetanotherstrong
indicationofpigcleverness(Top102012).Thissoundsfamiliar.Inthesamewayaspigs,
cleverHumanshavedrivenoutnativespeciesandevenotherhumansnativetoanenvironment
allthroughouthistory.

WithoutanMRImachineorawaytoeasilyfindspecificallelesandgenes,physicallylookingat
abraincrosssectioncanhelptocompareapigbrainandahumanbrain.Onecanlookatthe
brainstructuresandcomparespecificphysicalcharacteristicssuchasthegyriandthegray
matter.

Photocred:ClarissaSmith
Inthisimage,thefetalbigbrainhaswrinkles,butwhencomparedtoahumanbrain,therearenot
asmanyandtheyarenotasdeep.Thisdifferencebetweenpigandhumanbrainscanbeafactor
indeterminingthedifferenceinintelligencebetweenhumansandpigs.

Photocred:ClarissaSmith

Inthisimage,onecanseethegraymatteralongthetopedgeofthebrain.Physically,thereare
manysimilaritiesbetweenhumanandpigbrains.However,inordertomoreaccuratelycompare
them,apigcouldgetanMRI.Ifscientistscomparedthebrainactivitywhiledoingsimilartasks,
thentheycouldmeasurethedifferentareasofthebrain.Abiochemicalanalysisofthegenesand
allelespresentinthebrainwouldbeanotherwaytocomparethe2speciesfurther.Eventoreturn
tothepurephysicalformofthebrain,scientistscouldusecomputerstomoreaccuratelycompare
thegraymatterandgyriinthepigbraintowhattheaveragehumanbrainislike.


Inconclusion,graymatterandbraingyriaretwoevolutionaryenhancementstointelligencethat
canbevisuallyfoundinboththehumanandpigbrain.Thesephysicalattributesarestrongerin
humansthaninpigs,whichiswhyhumansarebelievedtohaveahighercognitiveabilitythan
pigs.


References

BrainGyrificationanditsSignificance.(2013,June8).Retrievedfrom
http://white.stanford.edu/teach/index.php/Brain_Gyrification_and_its_Significance

GeneticsofBrainStructureandIntelligenceToga,ArthurWThompson,PaulM
AnnualReviewofNeuroscience01012005

Top10SmartestAnimals.(2012,May15).Retrievedfrom
http://animals.howstuffworks.com/animalfacts/10smartestanimals.htm#page=4

HEYLOOK,AC(a)TSCAN!

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