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Keywords:

  • African elephant;
  • brain;
  • magnetic resonance imaging;
  • hypocampus;
  • corpus callosum

Abstract

We acquired magnetic resonance images of the brain of an adult African elephant, Loxodonta africana, in the axial and parasagittal planes and produced anatomically labeled images. We quantified the volume of the whole brain (3,886.7 cm3) and of the neocortical and cerebellar gray and white matter. The white matter-to-gray matter ratio in the elephant neocortex and cerebellum is in keeping with that expected for a brain of this size. The ratio of neocortical gray matter volume to corpus callosum cross-sectional area is similar in the elephant and human brains (108 and 93.7, respectively), emphasizing the difference between terrestrial mammals and cetaceans, which have a very small corpus callosum relative to the volume of neocortical gray matter (ratio of 181–287 in our sample). Finally, the elephant has an unusually large and convoluted hippocampus compared to primates and especially to cetaceans. This may be related to the extremely long social and chemical memory of elephants. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.