How did mammals evolve large brains? A multidisciplinary view from the pouch (2012–2016)
How are the extremely large brains of mammals ¿ including humans ¿ possible? This question is subject to a lively debate, much of which unfortunately refers to repeated analysis of limited data. Using marsupials as representatives of ancestral mammalian brain development and evolution, I will collect new, diverse data to fill the most debated gaps in the field. I will use advanced data collection techniques for the first large-scale assessment of marsupial brain composition and brain size evolution through time, as well as the first data on brain composition development in any mammal. By opening the field to these new approaches, my research will settle several current disagreements on how mammalian brains evolved to their great sizes.