Animals from worms to humans have brains. Our human brains are clearly special: we have evolved speech, culture, dance, language, song. Is the origin of our human brain special, or do these abilities that make us human share a common history with other mammals? Or flies? Or worms? We’ll talk about some of the recent discoveries and controversies about the origin(s) of brains, and what this knowledge may tell us about human behavior.

Josh Martin (Colby Biology) studies the mechanisms of some “higher” level functions of brains (attention, motivation) in some of the “lower” animals (moths, cockroaches, mantises). He trained with curious neuroscientists, naturalists, and engineers at the Ohio State University (BS), the University of Arizona (PhD), and Case Western Reserve University (postdoc). His work in the newly formed Martin Lab (est. 2016) at Colby College investigates how diverse brains move their bodies to get what they need.

  • Different origins of brains November 7, 2017 Anna YuDuring the homecoming weekend, Colby‚Äôs biology professor Josh Martin gave a fascinating talk on the origins of brains. Starting with his own research object, praying mantises, Prof. Martin explored the ...
  • The Brain November 6, 2017 cmhall20The Human brain is something that is fascinating to me, but I also know very little about it. Though I have been lectured to about the various effects of drugs ...
  • Human Brains vs Insects Brains October 31, 2017 ashibataThe brain is one of the most complex organs in the human body. There have been many researches on this topic and today prof. Josh Martin brought us the exploration ...
  • Braaaaaains! October 31, 2017 Amber ChurchwellI’ll be the first to admit that it’s hard to imagine an comparative tree of different animals’ brains. Luckily, Colby professor of Biology Josh Martin created a chart (that was ...