Popular Science

A new type of neuron lurks in the human brain, and we have no idea what it does

Break out your botanical dictionary. You’re going to need it.
a statue of a man thinking

We're still figuring out why human brains are so unique.

The human brain is one of the most complex structures ever to evolve on this planet, but we’re still barely able to understand exactly what sets it apart. We may be a little closer to figuring it out, thanks to a study published Monday in the journal Nature Neuroscience that reports a new type of brain cell—one unique to human beings.

It’s called the rosehip neuron, and they comprise about 10 to 15 percent of the upper layer of the human neocortex—the portion of the brain responsible. The purpose of the study was to understand the diversity of the neocortex and see whether humans possess types of neurons that are absent in other animals.

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