Send to

Choose Destination
Anat Rec (Hoboken). 2010 Dec;293(12):2129-35. doi: 10.1002/ar.21295.

A neurological comparative study of the harp seal (Pagophilus groenlandicus) and harbor porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) brain.

Author information

Research Laboratory for Stereology and Neuroscience, Bispebjerg University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark.


The cetacean brain is well studied. However, few comparisons have been done with other marine mammals. In this study, we compared the harp seal (Pagophilus groenlandicus) and the harbor porpoise brain (Phocoena phocoena). Stereological methods were applied to compare three areas of interest: the entire neocortex and two subdivisions of the neocortex, the auditory and visual cortices. The total number of neurons and glial cells in the three regions was estimated. The main results showed that the harbor porpoise have an estimated 14.9 × 10(9) neocortical neurons and 34.8 × 10(9) neocortical glial cells, whereas the harp seal have 6.1 × 10(9) neocortical neurons and 17.5 × 10(9) neocortical glial cells. The harbor porpoise have significantly more neurons and glial cells in the auditory cortex than in the visual cortex, whereas the pattern was opposite for the harp seal. These results are the first to provide estimates of the number of neurons and glial cells in the neocortex of the harp seal and harbor porpoise brain and offer new data to the comparative field of mammalian brain evolution.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center