Mammalian brain followed a scented evolutionary trail

Virtual three-dimensional 'casts' of the fossilized skulls of animals that preceded the first true mammals suggest that brain areas involved in smell, or olfaction, catalysed brain growth in the evolutionary branch that gave rise to mammals. With this foundation in place, later mammals could have siphoned off some of those resources for colour vision, echolocation and even, in the case of the platypus, the ability to sense electric currents.


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