Mammals are unique with their six-layered neocortex. No other vertebrate clade has a brain structured in such a way. For example a reptile’s dorsal cortex consists of one layer of pyramidal cells with little functional differentiation. The development of the neocortex is a primary contribution to mammalian intelligence – including ours. How has this complex structure evolved? As phylogeny is a succession of ontogenies, or individual developments, understanding the mechanisms of ontogenetic development can help us understand brain evolution in an essential way.
Published Jun 09, 2015