whale brains

Alex Duncan (aduncan@mail.utexas.edu)
8 Nov 1995 00:45:39 GMT

In article <hubey.815713705@pegasus.montclair.edu> H. M. Hubey,
hubey@pegasus.montclair.edu writes:

>We can drop it. But before we do that let's consider a number
>from Churchland (the Searlian nemesis). The number of brain
>states of a human being (possible on-off states of all neurons)
>is 10^(10^8) or 10^10000000. By comparison, the total number
>of elementary particles in the universe (including photons)
>is 10^87. Now that's complexity.

The human brain has a mass of about 1.5 kg. The brains of large
cetaceans have masses as great as 4 kg, if not more (it's been a long
time since I've done any reading on the subject). Assuming there is some
correlation between brain mass and total number of neurons (there must be
a correlation, but I don't know how "good" it is) the potential exists
that whale brains are significantly more complex than those of humans
using this particular measure of complexity.

Alex Duncan
Dept. of Anthropology
University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX 78712-1086