Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2003

Abstract

Cetacean (dolphin, whale, and porpoise) brains are among the least-studied mammalian brains because of the formidability of collecting and histologically preparing such relatively rare and large specimens. Among cetaceans, there exist relatively few studies of the brain of the harbor porpoise (Phocoena phocoena). Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) offers a means of observing the internal structure of the brain when traditional histological procedures are not practical. Therefore, MRI has become a critical tool in the study of the brain of cetaceans and other large species. This article represents the first MRI-based anatomically labeled three-dimensional description of the harbor porpoise brain. Coronal plane sections of the brain of a young harbor porpoise were originally acquired and used to produce virtual digital scans in the other two orthogonal spatial planes. A sequential set of images in all three planes has been anatomically labeled and displays the proportions and positions of major neuroanatomical features. These images allow for the visualizing of the distinctive features of the harbor porpoise brain from various orientations by preserving the gross morphological structure of the specimen.

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