Uniquely human emotion, though, may require the heft of human-sized brain.
The part of the human brain that is linked to mankind’s unique sense of empathy also grows at the same scale in an array of other primates, according to a new study.
The findings, which came as a surprise to researchers, don’t suggest chimpanzees will be getting talk shows anytime soon. Instead the study shows that “the difference between us and great apes is incremental,” said lead researcher Amy Bauernfeind, a GW doctoral candidate. “That, in fact, we’re just seeing an expansion of an already present pattern that exists in primates.”
The study, published in the April issue of the Journal of Human Evolution, was co-led by GW anthropology professor Chet Sherwood, who is among the researchers slated to move into the new Science and Engineering Hall.
The research team studied a part of the brain called the insula in 30 species of primates, from humans and gorillas to the wide-eyed slender loris.
Read more about this study and view renderings and video of the hall.
A hub of discovery and learning at GW.
State-of-the-art flexible learning and research space.
Eight-story building with two levels of below-ground program space.
Underground parking and ground floor retail space.
Approved by the GW Board of Trustees in October 2010.
Construction will take place between 2011 and 2014.
Estimated cost is $275 million, to be funded primarily with lease payments from Square 54 (across from GW Hospital), indirect cost reimbursement from grants and contracts supporting faculty research, and philanthropic gifts from the GW community.
To download renderings, click on thumbnail. In pop-up window, right click on large image and choose "save as" or "save image as."
Science and Engineering Hall Fact Sheet