• Question: How does gyri and sulci help our brains function and why do animals that don't have it, have less complex brains? Thanks in advance

    Asked by gavins to Fiona, Jane, Joanna, Michelle, William on 18 Jun 2010 in Categories: .
    • Photo: Joanna Brooks

      Joanna Brooks answered on 16 Jun 2010:

      Hello! The surface of the brain is covered in bumps and grooves – the bumps are called gyri and the grooves are called sulci. In most people the general pattern of gyri and sulci are the same but patterns can vary from person to person. Scientists have found that some of these gyri are involved in things like self-awareness and laughter. The sulci help divide the brain into the four brain lobes – frontal lobe (involved in emotion), parietal lobe (spatial), occipital (visual), temporal (time).

      Some animals like mice have smooth-surfaced brain and these are called ‘lissencephalics’ – I think we can safely say that the brains of mice are less complex than humans!

    • Photo: Michelle Murphy

      Michelle Murphy answered on 16 Jun 2010:

      the bumps and grooves increase the surface and allow the brain more access to fuel (glucose and oxygen). This part of the brain is thought to be important to memory, thinking and language which are perhaps not that important for some animals.

    • Photo: William Davies

      William Davies answered on 17 Jun 2010:

      Gyri and sulci are the technical terms for the folds in the cortex of our brains. because we have such large cortexes relative to other animals (but our skulls are not much bigger), we needed to find a way of storing all this tissue in our heads, and folding was Nature’s answer

    • Photo: Fiona Randall

      Fiona Randall answered on 18 Jun 2010:

      Gyri and sulci and the bits on the surface of the brain (they are part of the cortex) that make it look a bit like a cauliflower-the gyri are the bumps and the sulci are the folds. More intelligent animals have more folded cortices, like humans and chimps and dolphins. Less intelligent animals like rats have smooth brains. The folds of the gyri and sulci basically mean more cortex can be fit into the space in the head. This means the brain can do more complex tasks.