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The past, present and future of 

Neuroscience in southern Africa

Manger obtained his BSc Hons and PhD from the University of Queensland. Following this, Manger did post-doctoral stints at the University of California, Davis and University of California, Los Angeles, and a Guest researcher position at the Karolinksa Institute,  Stockholm, Sweden. Now, a Full Research Professor in the School of Anatomical Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand in 2002. Manger's research focuses on the evolution of brain and behaviour – neuroethology – of African mammals. Manger has established the first major brain bank in the southern hemisphere, and has collected the most well prepared specimens of mammal brains from over 150 species. In addition, Manger and colleagues are studying sleep in free-roaming mammals, and use sleep as one of the key behaviours that can be related to evolution of the structure of the brain.

Prof Paul Manger 

School of Anatomical Studies, University of the Witwatersrand



The Five Evolutions of Large Brain in Mammals - humans, elephants, cetaceans, seals and camels 

Lenore Manderson
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Lenore Manderson is a Distinguished Professor of Public Health and Medical Anthropology in the School of Public Health at the University of the Witwatersrand and of Anthropology and Environmental Studies in the Institute at Brown University in the United States. In 2016 she received an NRF A rating, and awarded the biennial Career Achievement Award of the Society for Medical Anthropology.


The second in the Brain Matters Seminar series was held at Wits University on Thursday 25 May 2017. Paul Manger, Professor of Neuroscience at the University of the Witwatersrand, spoke on ‘The Five Evolutions of Large Brains in Mammals: Humans, Elephants, Cetaceans, Seals and Camels’.

The summary stated: ‘Humans have large brains, and so do whales, dolphins and elephants. But when do we consider a brain to be ‘large’, and does increased brain size evolve for the same purpose in each of these species? This lecture will explore the definition of large brain size and the multiple independent evolutions of large brains across mammals.’

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