Magnetic resonance images of the brain of a dwarf sperm whale (Kogia simus)


Dr L. Marino, Psychology Department, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA. Tel.: +1 404 7277582; fax: +1 404 7270372; e-mail:


Cetacean (dolphin, whale and porpoise) brains are among the least studied mammalian brains because of the difficulty of collecting and histologically preparing such relatively rare and large specimens. Among cetaceans, there exist relatively few studies of the brain of the dwarf sperm whale (Kogia simus). Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) offers a means of observing the internal structure of the brain when traditional histological procedures are not practical. Therefore, MRI has become a critical tool in the study of the brain of cetaceans and other large species. This paper represents the first MRI-based anatomically labelled three-dimensional description of the dwarf sperm whale brain. Coronal plane sections of the brain of a sub-adult dwarf sperm whale were originally acquired and used to produce virtual digital scans in the other two orthogonal spatial planes. A sequential set of images in all three planes has been anatomically labelled and displays the proportions and positions of major neuroanatomical features.