If an engineer were to build “the brain”, they would not be able to reproduce any of the brains that exist on Earth. Our brains were not designed to be perfect, but are a result of millions of years of evolution and adaptation. The goal of this course is to provide an overview of brain evolution, ranging from the evolution of the first neurons to the origin of the human brain. Specifically, the course will focus on recent insights emerging from studies of development, gene expression, and neural circuit architecture. The evolutionary perspective on commonly used terms, such as “neuron” and “brain”, and general principles of brain organization and function emerging from comparative studies will be discussed.
Department of Biological Sciences
500 Fairchild Center
Mail Code 2401
1212 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, NY 10027