22 Aug 2017

What shark's brains can teach us

From Jesse Mulligan, 1–4pm, 1:23 pm on 22 August 2017

What can the brains of sharks tell us about our own brains?  You might think not much but actually we have more in common with our aquatic neighbours than you might think.

Professor John Montgomery is a former director of marine science at the University of Auckland and is now a principal investigator in the Centre of Brain research.

He's been looking into the untapped potential of our human brains.

Human cerebellum occupies 10% of our brain volume, but has nearly 80% of the nerve cells! So why does it need so many nerve cells? Professor Montgomery says the answer may lie in the brains of sharks.

He says our cerebellum evolved from these cerebellum-like structures in sharks, which can use theirs in some  amazing ways, such as detecting weak bioelectric fields from prey.

Professor John Montgomery: A principal investigator in the Centre of Brain Research.

Professor John Montgomery: A principal investigator in the Centre of Brain Research. Photo: supplied