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White matter 'skeletons' of human and chimpanzee brain (Image 2)

Elegant wisps are white matter


Elegant wisps are white matter "skeletons" of a chimpanzee brain. White matter carries nerve impulses between nerve cells. The skeletons are created using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), a technique that specifically teases out the location and orientation of white matter.

DTI is one imaging technique researchers are using to identify regions in the brain that change when humans learn how to use technology. By looking at both human and chimpanzee brains, it may be possible to determine whether and how the human brain adapted to support technology skills that are uniquely human from stone toolmaking to computer programming.

This research was supported in part by a grant from the National Science Foundation (grant SMA 13-28567, "IBSS: The Interrelated Development of Language and Technology"). (Date image taken: human data: 2015; chimpanzee data: 2013; date originally posted to NSF Multimedia Gallery: May 3, 2017) [Image 2 of 3 related images. See Image 3.]

Credit: Erin Hecht, Center for Behavioral Neuroscience, Georgia State University; data credit: Erin Hecht, Yerkes National Primate Research Center

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