Natural Science Collections Alliance

Our members are part of an international community of museums, botanical gardens, herbariums, universities and other institutions that house natural science collections and utilize them in research, exhibitions, academic and informal science education, and outreach activities.

Museum Specimens Document Growing Mammal Brains

The brain size of some mammal species is getting larger, possibly due to human alterations in the natural environment.  University of Minnesota biologist Emilie C. Snell-Rood studied a collection of mammal skulls at the Bell Museum of Natural History at the University of Minnesota.  Dr. Snell-Rood studied ten species of small mammals, including mice, shrews, bats, and gophers.  Using skulls that were collected over the past century, her research team documented a six percent increase in brain size in white-footed mice and meadow voles collected in cities or suburbs, as compared to animals from rural areas.  Dr. Snell-Rood also found an increase in brain size in four species from rural parts of Minnesota.

Read the article published in the New York Times at

Museum Specimens Document Growing Mammal Brains
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