Nature Reviews Neuroscience 6, 151-159 (February 2005) | doi:10.1038/nrn1606

OpinionAvian brains and a new understanding of vertebrate brain evolution

Erich D. Jarvis1, Onur Güntürkün, Laura Bruce, András Csillag, Harvey Karten, Wayne Kuenzel, Loreta Medina, George Paxinos, David J. Perkel, Toru Shimizu, Georg Striedter, J. Martin Wild, Gregory F. Ball, Jennifer Dugas-Ford, Sarah E. Durand, Gerald E. Hough, Scott Husband, Lubica Kubikova, Diane W. Lee, Claudio V. Mello, Alice Powers, Connie Siang, Tom V. Smulders, Kazuhiro Wada, Stephanie A. White, Keiko Yamamoto, Jing Yu, Anton Reiner & Ann B. Butler


We believe that names have a powerful influence on the experiments we do and the way in which we think. For this reason, and in the light of new evidence about the function and evolution of the vertebrate brain, an international consortium of neuroscientists has reconsidered the traditional, 100-year-old terminology that is used to describe the avian cerebrum. Our current understanding of the avian brain — in particular the neocortex-like cognitive functions of the avian pallium — requires a new terminology that better reflects these functions and the homologies between avian and mammalian brains.

Author affiliations

  1. Erich Jarvis at the Department of Neurobiology, Box 3209, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710, USA.

Correspondence to: Erich D. Jarvis1 Email:


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