A chimpanzee skull, at left, and a human skull. Scientists are probing why our brains evolved so differently despite many similarities. D. Roberts/Getty Images/Science Photo Libra
A brain system involved in everything from addiction to autism appears to have evolved differently in people than in great apes, a team reports Thursday in the journal Science.
The system controls the production of dopamine, a chemical messenger that plays a major role in pleasure and rewards.
“Humans have evolved a dopamine system that is different than the one in chimpanzees,” says Nenad Sestan, an author of the study and a professor of neuroscience at Yale.
That could help explain why human behavior is so different from our nearest relatives even though our brains are remarkably similar, he says. It might also