Cetacean brains generate lots of heat!  Read our recent collaborative research on uncoupling proteins in the cetacean brain published in Scientific Reports!


Read our recent publication on asymmetry in the chimpanzee brain

published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society, London.  


A small snippet from the DMU blog on the context of our recent work -Read more

Neuro-SMART gets a STEM BEST Award!

Learn more about some of our ongoing work on domestication in the Canid and Artiodactyl brain.


Neuro-SMART high school students present their research at the DMU Research Symposium.

Central Campus and EBL awarded a Verizon Foundation Innovative Learning Grant to expand their high school brain research module! 

Dolphins have small hippocampi that lack adult neurogenesis


The Evolving Brain Laboratory (EBL) is an educational and research initiative dedicated to the study of comparative neuroanatomy and the evolutionary origins of the human brain. 


Our Work: We use a histological framework in conjunction with phylogenetically informed procedures to investigate the neuroanatomical features underlying the behavioral repertoire of mammalian species.


Our Focus: To date our work has primarily centred around the study of brain asymmetry, exploring scaling relationships at different levels of organization and characterizing the phenotypic changes that accompanied the evolution of large brains.

Our Commitment to the region has also seen us gear some of our work towards the study of indigenous and domestic animals that play a pivotal role in the livelihood of the local community.

We are located within the Anatomy Department at Des Moines University upon the backdrop of the beautiful and friendly City of Des Moines, Iowa. PI- Muhammad Spocter

Are you Interested in obtaining a Masters or PhD degree in comparative neuroanatomy? - Check  out Des Moines Universities MSA Masters in Anatomy Thesis and PhD in Biomedical Sciences programs.

2 April
25, 26 JULY

Neuroanatomy in an Afternoon-  Teachers Workshop- Free!

Target Audience: High School  & Community College science educators REGISTRATION

11 NOV
12 NOV

The 33rd Karger Workshop in Evolutionary Neuroscience

40th Annual Meeting of the J.B. Johnston Club for Evolutionary Neuroscience  -JBJC

16 JAN

First day of class for the Spring semester of the high school comparative neuroanatomy STEM Class (Neuro-SMART)


3200 Grand Avenue

Department of Anatomy

Des Moines University

Des Moines, IA 50312   

​Tel: 515-271-7485     



Feb, 2020

We completed our preliminary description of the major sensory cortical areas of the African Wild Dog (Lycaon pictus). This work was the result of a Carnegie-Wits Alumni fellowship funding collaborative links between Des  Moines University and the University of Witwatersrand (South Africa). Click the link to read more about the project. One recent  publication emerging from this project is:

Chengetania, S., Tenley, J., Bertelson, M,F., Hard, T., Bhagwandin, A., Haagensen, M., Tang, C., Wicinski, B., Hof, P.R., Manger, P.R., & Spocter, M.A (2020). The brain of the African wild dog. I. Anatomy, architecture and volumetrics. Journal of Comparative Neurology. -link

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October 25, 2018

The Neuro-SMART program

awarded a STEM BEST® award

from the Iowa Governor's STEM Advisory Council. This program is now recognized as one of 50 innovative models in Iowa working to unite the workplace with the classroom. 

© 2011 by Evolving Brain Laboratory (EBL)

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