Unique Human Neuron Discovered
A new addition to the category of “uniquely human features”
By Brian Thomas, M.S.
With a new addition to the category of “uniquely human features,” MIT neuroscientists discovered a feature of human—not animal—brain cells. Certain human brain cells have much longer extensions called dendrites, and this research team found a uniquely human reason for it.
The cerebrum lies just beneath the skull. It has folds and bends. This largest part of the brain manages all kinds of information, and lots of it—even more than the entire internet. It interprets sight, sound, temperature, taste, and touch inputs. It initiates muscle movements. It stores and retrieves memories, helps perform reasoning, and stores intelligence and personality. Clearly, it does more than animal brains, but how?
Just last month a separate team reported the discovery of a whole new class of neuron unique to humans. They called them rosehip cells based on their shapes. We don’t yet know what they do, but since they make up 10 percent of our neurons, future research will surely reveal their important function…
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