After providing all the funding for The Brain from Top to Bottom for over 10 years, the CIHR Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction informed us that because of budget cuts, they were going to be forced to stop sponsoring us as of March 31st, 2013.

We have approached a number of organizations, all of which have recognized the value of our work. But we have not managed to find the funding we need. We must therefore ask our readers for donations so that we can continue updating and adding new content to The Brain from Top to Bottom web site and blog.

Please, rest assured that we are doing our utmost to continue our mission of providing the general public with the best possible information about the brain and neuroscience in the original spirit of the Internet: the desire to share information free of charge and with no adverstising.

Whether your support is moral, financial, or both, thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

Bruno Dubuc, Patrick Robert, Denis Paquet, and Al Daigen




Sunday, 25 March 2018
The Many Events Without Which We Wouldn’t Be Here To Talk About Them

In the course of evolution, there have been many times when the future existence of my brain as I write these lines and yours as you read them has hung by the slenderest thread. Without the events, many of them quite unlikely, that occurred at these times, we would not be here today to speculate about their nature (or at least not in our current form). (more…)

From the Simple to the Complex | No comments


Monday, 21 August 2017
Humans Are the Product of Dynamic Processes on Multiple Time Scales

Today I want to talk about dynamic processes that occur on some very different time scales in the human nervous system. To do so, I will describe four examples very briefly, referring to the two graphics in this post.

The first of these processes, represented at the bottom of each graphic, is the evolution of the human nervous system, which occurs on the longest of these time scales, measured in millions of years. Over these very long periods, sexual reproduction has accelerated the diversification of our nervous systems by regularly producing variants or mutations. Some of these variants have proved capable of viable structural couplings with certain environments and have thus enabled their lucky owners to pass these nervous systems down to their descendants. I am purposely avoiding saying that these nervous systems are “better adapted to their environment”, so as not to imply that part of this environment is unchanging or that there is always some optimal level of adaptation that organisms can achieve. To state it succinctly, evolution is more proscriptive than prescriptive: it of course eliminates certain mutations that are too incapable of viable coupling with their environment, but it “allows” all the rest. (more…)

Emotions and the Brain | No comments


Tuesday, 23 May 2017
Two “Trees of Life”

This week I want to tell you about two great websites for learning about the genealogy of every living thing on planet Earth. The first is the evogeneao Tree of Life Explorer, and it uses an incredibly ingenious design that lets you click on any currently living species and trace back to the common ancestor that humans share with it. An animation then shows you where this common ancestor is located in the phylogenetic tree of all living things and tells you how many years ago this common ancestor lived. (more…)

Evolution and the Brain | No comments


Monday, 9 December 2013
Links About Our Evolutionary Inheritance

This week, as we have before in this blog, we are posting a set of links to pages on other web sites that discuss a subject covered in The Brain from Top to Bottom, along with brief descriptions of the content of those pages.

The subject this week is the sub-topic “Our Evolutionary Inheritance”, under the topic “Evolution and the Brain”—an important topic indeed, for as the geneticist Theodosius Dobzhansky (1900-1975) wrote, “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.” And when it comes to neurobiology, that assertion is especially apt. (more…)

Evolution and the Brain | Comments Closed


Monday, 24 December 2012
What does it mean to be human?

The web site What does it mean to be human? was developed by the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C.. Dedicated to the dissemination of knowledge on the evolution of the human species, this site, with its graphics evoking the African savanna, the cradle of humanity, addresses myriad questions that will arouse the curiosity of a wide audience—questions such as:

How do evolution and Darwinian natural selection work?
What is the relationship between humans and the species of apes alive today?
Did humans evolve in a straight line, one species after another?
How can scientists estimate the age of a fossil, or the climate conditions a million years ago?
Is the concept of evolution compatible with religion? (more…)

Evolution and the Brain | Comments Closed


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