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Press Release 11-151

Aging Brains Are Different in Humans and Chimpanzees

Evolution of human longevity led to both a large brain and brain shrinkage say researchers

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Photo of a chimpanzee.

Research shows chimpanzees, the closest living relatives to humans, do not display significant brain shrinkage as they age. Researchers surmise this may be related to an increased reliance on social learning of skills in humans.

Credit: 2011 Jupiter Images Corporation

 

MRI scan of a 24 year-old male human brain.

MRI scan of a 24 year-old male human brain.

Credit: John Allen and William Hopkins


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MRI scan of a 79 year-old male human brain.

MRI scan of a 79 year-old male human brain. This image shows an extreme amount of brain shrinkage than a a similar scan of a 24 year-old human male.

Credit: John Allen and William Hopkins


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MRI scan of a 15 year-old male chimpanzee brain.

MRI scan of a 15 year-old male chimpanzee brain.

Credit: John Allen and William Hopkins


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MRI scan of a 42 year-old male chimpanzee brain.

MRI scan of a 42 year-old male chimpanzee brain. This image shows less shrinkage than scans of human brains of comparable age.

Credit: John Allen and William Hopkins


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