What is it about?

Because the cerebellum is much more tightly folded than the cerebral cortex, it has never been fully reconstructed and unfolded. By scanning a preserved cerebellum at ultra-high magnetic fields, we showed its surface area has expanded even more than the surface area of the cerebral cortex when compared to monkeys.

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Why is it important?

The unusual expansion of the human cerebellum may in part be responsible for characteristically human behaviors such as intricate tool-making, language, complex social interactions, and efficient abstract thought.


I knew the cerebellar surface area was going to turn out to be large, but even I was surprised to find that it was almost 80% the surface area of the cerebral cortex. I am hoping that this new base map will motivate new research into how the cerebellum participates in human cognition and emotion procssing.

Martin Sereno
San Diego State University

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This page is a summary of: The human cerebellum has almost 80% of the surface area of the neocortex, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, July 2020, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2002896117.
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