The UA College of Science presents the first of six free lectures on "The Evolving Brain." The astonishingly complex human brain is the product of hundreds of millions of years of evolution. Layered upon its ancestral core of ancient molecules and neural circuits, new structures have evolved expanding the brain's capacity to flexibly process information and elaborate complex behaviors. Human brains are continuously remodeled by environmental forces and by the enormous sum of information we generate – further expanding the power of our brain to manipulate information. Today, sophisticated techniques allow us to probe the structure and function of the brain to better understand how brains originated and where the evolution of our own brain will take us.
Dr. Nicholas Strausfeld, director of the Center for Insect Science and Regents' Professor of Neuroscience, will kick off the series with a talk titled "Time Traveling: What Our Brains Share with Beetle Brains". Emerging evidence suggests that distantly related animals such as mice and flies manifest similar behaviors because they have genealogically corresponding brain centers. The view is that a common ancestor had already evolved circuits for behavioral actions, memory of such actions, and their consequences more than half billion years ago. Evidence that those circuits have been inherited through geological time challenges how we as a species relate to animals that we view as wholly different from ourselves.
Parking is available on a pay-per-use basis in the Tyndall Avenue Garage.