Elephants Have Relatively the Largest Cerebellum Size of Mammals

Authors

  • Busisiwe C. Maseko,

    1. School of Anatomical Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, Republic of South Africa
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  • Muhammad A. Spocter,

    1. School of Anatomical Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, Republic of South Africa
    2. Department of Anatomy, Des Moines University, Des Moines, Iowa
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  • Mark Haagensen,

    1. Department of Radiology, University of the Witwatersrand-Donald Gordon Medical Centre, Johannesburg, Republic of South Africa
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  • Paul R. Manger

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Anatomical Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, Republic of South Africa
    • School of Anatomical Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, 7 York Road, Parktown, 2193, Johannesburg, Republic of South Africa
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    • Fax: +27-11-717-2422


Abstract

The current study used MR imaging to determine the volume of the cerebellum and its component parts in the brain of three adult male African elephants (Loxodonta africana) and compared this with published data from Asian elephants and other mammalian species including odontocete cetaceans, primates, chiropterans, insectivores, carnivores, and artiodactyls. The cerebellum of the adult elephant has a volume of ∼925 mL (average of both African and Asian species). Allometric analysis indicates that the elephant has the largest relative cerebellum size of all mammals studied to date. In addition, both odontocete cetaceans and microchiropterans appear to have large relative cerebellar sizes. The vermal and hemispheric components of the African elephant cerebellum are both large relative to other mammals of similar brain size, however, for odontocete cetaceans the vermal component is small and the hemispheric component is large. These volumetric observations are related to life-histories and anatomies of the species investigated. The current study provides context for one aspect of the elephant brain in the broader picture of mammalian brain evolution. Anat Rec, 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Ancillary