Press releases

The same visual system for all primates
The world’s smallest primate reveals the incredible preservation of our visual system through millions of years of evolution.
Primates process visual information in front of their eyes, similar to pixels in a digital camera, using small computing units located in the visual cortex of their brains. In order to understand the origins of our visual abilities, scientists at the University of Geneva (UNIGE), in collaboration with the Max Planck Institute in Göttingen and the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, have now investigated whether these computational units scale across the large differences in size between primates. The gray mouse lemur (microcebus murinus) from Madagascar is one of the smallest of them and weighs barely 60 grams. In a study published in the journal Current Biology, the scientists compared the visual system of the mouse lemur to that of other primates and found that the size of these visual processing units is identical in all primates, independent of their body size. As the mouse lemur is a very special species, sharing many traits with the very first primates that evolved 55 Million years ago, these results suggest an incredible preservation of our visual system and highlight the importance of vision in our daily lives and that of our ancestors in the distant past. Please read more here on the webpage of the Université de Genève.

Dem Superhirn auf der Spur
Die Humanbiologie-Professorin Katja Nowick erforscht, was das menschliche Gehirn so einzigartig macht
Katja Nowick erforscht an der Freien Universität Berlin die Gehirnentwicklung der Primaten. Die Professorin für Humanbiologie will insbesondere verstehen, wie evolutionäre Veränderungen an „Genschaltern“ zu Unterschieden in der Genregulation führten.
Please read more here (press release FU Berlin; Tagesspiegel-Beilage October 4th, 2020)

Evolution – the ultimate computer engineer
New nationwide research alliance on the evolution of the nervous system
Fred Wolf from the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization, head of the Bernstein Centre for Computational Neuroscience (BCCN) Göttingen and designated director of the Campus Institute Dynamics of Biological Networks will be the coordinator of a new DFG priority programme „Evolutionary Optimization of Neuronal Processing“. The establishment of the new programme was decided by the Senate of the German Research Foundation at its spring meeting this year. The programme is scheduled to run for six years and will start in early 2019. It is one of 14 programmes selected by the DFG from 53 initiatives and with a funding volume of 80 million euros over the next three years. The new Campus Institute Dynamics of Biological Networks, which is jointly funded by the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization, the University and Göttingen University Medicine, will coordinate the overarching activities of the research network. (© MPIDS/BCCN/Bernstein Network, 12.04.2018). Please read more here .