A connectomics-based taxonomy of mammals

Laura E. Suarez, Yossi Yovel, Martijn P. van den Heuvel, Olaf Sporns, Yaniv Assaf, Guillaume Lajoie, Bratislav Misic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mammalian taxonomies are conventionally defined by morphological traits and genetics. How species differ in terms of neural circuits and whether inter-species differences in neural circuit organization conform to these taxonomies is unknown. The main obstacle to the comparison of neural architectures has been differences in network reconstruction techniques, yielding species-specific connectomes that are not directly comparable to one another. Here, we comprehensively chart connectome organization across the mammalian phylogenetic spectrum using a common reconstruction protocol. We analyse the mammalian MRI (MaMI) data set, a database that encompasses high-resolution ex vivo structural and diffusion MRI scans of 124 species across 12 taxonomic orders and 5 superorders, collected using a unified MRI protocol. We assess similarity between species connectomes using two methods: similarity of Laplacian eigenspectra and similarity of multiscale topological features. We find greater inter-species similarities among species within the same taxonomic order, suggesting that connectome organization reflects established taxonomic relationships defined by morphology and genetics. While all connectomes retain hallmark global features and relative proportions of connection classes, inter-species variation is driven by local regional connectivity profiles. By encoding connectomes into a common frame of reference, these findings establish a foundation for investigating how neural circuits change over phylogeny, forging a link from genes to circuits to behaviour.

Original languageEnglish
StatePublished - 7 Nov 2022


  • connectomics
  • mammals
  • neuroscience
  • none
  • taxonomy


Dive into the research topics of 'A connectomics-based taxonomy of mammals'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this