Why is the human brain is so wrinkled?

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Have you ever pondered over the fact why the human’s shriveled walnut-like brain is so wrinkled? To better answer this question, researchers have even grown a 3D replica of a human’s brain in a laboratory and reproduced its wrinkled shape successfully.

The brain is also recognised as the “control unit” of the human body. It is the repository of feelings and memories.

Lisa Ronan, a research fellow in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Cambridge in England, says “You are born with a folded brain” and elucidates that the outer surface of the brain, also labelled as the cortex, expands.

As a consequence, it folds as the brain develops in the womb. This particular expansion causes pressure to accelerate in the cortex.

This in turn lessens the folds, hence causing the brain to wrinkle. Actually, people’s cognitive abilities would have been dramatically limited without these wrinkles or folds.

These wrinkles actually help larger brains maintain their white matter fibers that connect different areas of the cortex. The fibers stretch as the brain expands.

These uncountable folds are very important as they permit people to fill up more neurons which in turn leads to advanced brains with speeding cognitive abilities. Nonetheless most animals’ brains are not wrinkled, for example, rats.

The brains of the rats do not expand enough during their growth, thus pertaining to the fact that their brains are exclusively smooth surfaces. Ronan further adds that “But this isn’t always the case — some large mammal-like the manatee have far fewer folds than researchers would otherwise expect based on the size of their brain”.

In 1892 Emily Dickson, American poet, wrote the following poem on human’s brain:


“The Brain – is wider than the Sky –
For – put them side by side –
The one the other will contain
With ease – and You – beside”