- Genetic similarities exist between dolphins, humans and other brainy animals.
- The similarities could help to explain why cetaceans, humans, non-human primates and elephants all have such big brains along with complex cognition.
- A high metabolic rate and other changes to energy usage in the body likely preceded the evolution of big brains in animals.
A close look at the dolphin genome reveals striking similarities between dolphins and humans.
The new study, published in the latest Proceedings of the Royal Society B, suggests that certain genetic features have led to the convergent evolution of large brains and complex cognition in a handful of species, including dolphins and humans.
"It has long been realized that dolphins rank among the most intelligent mammals, and they can do many things that great apes can do such as mirror self-recognition, communication, mimicry, and cultural transmission," lead author Michael McGowen told Discovery News, adding that dolphin brains are also "distinct and different."