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Symmetry 2015, 7(4), 2181-2194; https://doi.org/10.3390/sym7042181

When and Why Did Brains Break Symmetry?

1
School of Science and Technology, University of New England, Armidale, NSW 2351, Australia
2
Centre for Mind/Brain Science, University of Trento, Piazza della Manifattura 1, I-38068 Rovereto, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Albert K. Harris
Received: 11 October 2015 / Revised: 28 October 2015 / Accepted: 23 November 2015 / Published: 2 December 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Symmetry and Asymmetry in Biology)
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Abstract

Asymmetry of brain function is known to be widespread amongst vertebrates, and it seems to have appeared very early in their evolution. In fact, recent evidence of functional asymmetry in invertebrates suggests that even small brains benefit from the allocation of different functions to the left and right sides. This paper discusses the differing functions of the left and right sides of the brain, including the roles of the left and right antennae of bees (several species) in both short- and long-term recall of olfactory memories and in social behaviour. It considers the likely advantages of functional asymmetry in small and large brains and whether functional asymmetry in vertebrates and invertebrates is analogous or homologous. Neural or cognitive capacity can be enhanced both by the evolution of a larger brain and by lateralization of brain function: a possible reason why both processes occur side-by-side is offered. View Full-Text
Keywords: brain asymmetry; invertebrates; vertebrates; evolution; memory; social interactions brain asymmetry; invertebrates; vertebrates; evolution; memory; social interactions
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Rogers, L.J.; Vallortigara, G. When and Why Did Brains Break Symmetry? Symmetry 2015, 7, 2181-2194.

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