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Neurosurgeons look to animal kingdom to gain brain insights


Narrator:       This is Science Today. Neuroscientists are increasingly looking towards the animal kingdom to better understand how the human brain works. Researcher Allison Doupe of the University of California, San Francisco explains that many species that specialize in particular behaviors can teach us about ourselves.

Doupe:           Nature has done a lot of experiments for us....And I think it's important in science to make sure that we don't throw away...the huge genetic diversity of animals that nature gave us in learning answers as to how the brain works.

Narrator:       Through her studies of how zebra finches learn to sing, for example, Doupe gained valuable insight into how humans learn to speak. Her research on songbirds could even lead to new therapies for speech disorders.

Doupe:           But we can't just study zebra finches because there's tremendous diversity out there. There's birds that sing and repeat syllables...that sing huge repertoires. ...I think looking at the various different ways that nature has animals using their brains is very important.

Narrator:         For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.