Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2004

Abstract

This article presents the first series of MRI-based anatomically labeled sectioned images of the brain of the killer whale (Orcinus orca). Magnetic resonance images of the brain of an adult killer whale were acquired in the coronal and axial planes. The gross morphology of the killer whale brain is comparable in some respects to that of other odontocete brains, including the unusual spatial arrangement of midbrain structures. There are also intriguing differences. Cerebral hemispheres appear extremely convoluted and, in contrast to smaller cetacean species, the killer whale brain possesses an exceptional degree of cortical elaboration in the insular cortex, temporal operculum, and the cortical limbic lobe. The functional and evolutionary implications of these features are discussed.

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