Section through an octopus shows the mouth passing through the brain

Octopuses and other cephalopods are well-known for their exceptional intelligence and complex brains, which appear to outstrip all other invertebrates’. But, they work within one strange constraint – like all other molluscs (snails, slugs, oysters and more), the nerve ring at the centre of their nervous system encircles the oesophagus. In cephalopods, this nerve ring…

#ThrowbackThursday: Reconstructions show that human brains may have evolved more recently than we thought

The human brain may have evolved much faster and more recently than previously thought, researchers suggest from reconstruction of hominid skulls. By scanning the skull of Australopithecus sediba, one of the earliest complete hominid skeletons, scientists could reconstruct the shape and size of the brain from an endocast of the cranium. Essentially, this means they could use the…

#fossilfriday: Preserved brain visible in 520 million year-old arthropod

Almost all fossils represent the hard parts of long-gone animals: teeth, shells, bones and others. But palaeontologists do occasionally find fossilised soft tissue, too. This remarkable fossil was the first to be described where the brain and parts of the nervous system are visible – astonishingly – after more than 500 million years! Fuxianhuia protensa, an ancient…