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Talk by Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. Onur Güntürkün
Deep Time and the Evolution of Cognition

Great apes like chimpanzees are smart and have a large neocortex. In comparison, birds like corvids and parrots have much smaller brains and no neocortex. This should cast a dim prospect on their cognitive abilities. But studies of the last two decades revealed that there is not a single cognitive ability of chimpanzees (brain weight 400g) that was not also demonstrated in corvids and parrots (brain weights 3-25g). How is that possible?

This question keeps me awake because it challenges core assumptions on the neural fundaments of complex cognition. Meanwhile I realized that I must travel back into the deep time of vertebrate evolution to find answers. This talk is about this journey.

 

PARTICPANTS OF THE PANEL DISCUSSION
Panel discussion participants

Dr. Phyllis Mania

Consultant for science communication,

Goethe University Frankfurt/Main

Dr. Christoph Michel

Managing Director and Partner,

Boston Consulting Group

Dr. Christian Reitz

Head of SMT-OWV,

Carl Zeiss SMT GmbH

Markus Thiel

Head of Engineering & Design,

ArianeGroup GmbH