Paleoneurology is a field of study that focuses on investigating the evolution of the brain and the nervous system over millions of years, through the use of fossil evidence. This discipline combines the methodologies and theories of neuroscience, paleontology, and anthropology to address fundamental questions about how the brain developed and how it has influenced human behavior and cognition. Through the analysis of cranial fossils and endocasts (casts of the internal surface of the skull), paleoneurologists can gather information about the size, shape, and organization of the brain structures of extinct species. They can compare these features with those of modern living animals and humans, as well as those of our closest relatives such as chimpanzees and gorillas. Paleoneurology has profound implications for understanding the evolutionary history of the nervous system, including the development of language, the emergence of tool use, socialization, and other complex behaviors. Additionally, it has contributed to the understanding of neurological diseases through comparative analysis of brain structures and behaviors in various species. Moreover, this research has important applications in the field of neurological therapy, as the study of the evolution of the brain is paramount to understanding its function in contemporary humans. Paleoneurological research can provide critical data for developing new treatments and interventions for neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and multiple sclerosis. In conclusion, paleoneurology is an increasingly important field in neurological research and therapy, as it provides a unique perspective on the development and function of the brain over time. Through this interdisciplinary approach, we can better understand the complex mechanisms that underlie human cognition and behavior, and ultimately develop more effective treatments for neurological disorders.

From: Neurobiology

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Editor-in-chief: Zheng Jiang, Department of Neuroscience, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Publication Type: Open Access Journal
Description: The brain, spinal cord, and nerves make up the nervous system. Together they control all the workings of the body. When something goes wrong with a part of your nervous system, you can have trouble moving, speaking, swallowing, breathing, or learning. You can also have problems with your memory, senses, or mood.