Anatomical Description of an Infant Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) Brain from Magnetic Resonance Images

Abstract: Cetacean brains are among the least studied mammalian brains because of the formidable histological preparations of such relatively rare and large specimens. Although the bottlenose dolphin, Tursiops truncatus, has been the most extensively studied cetacean species, there have been relatively few studies of the brain of the infant bottlenose dolphin. In this study, we present the first magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-based study of the brain of an infant bottlenose dolphin. Magnetic resonance images in the coronal plane were originally acquired and used to digitally generate a set of resectioned virtual images in orthogonal planes. A sequential set of images in all three planes was anatomically labeled and reveals major neuroanatomical features. Some of the distinctive features of cetacean brains are already evident in the infant bottlenose dolphin brain, while other features may represent differences that deserve further study.

Key Words: bottlenose dolphin, Tursiops truncatus, brain, neuroanatomy, magnetic resonance imaging

Document Type: Research article

DOI: 10.1578/AM.30.2.2004.315

Page Numbers: 315-326

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