By Samuel I. Zeveloff
Eightvo, 1988, PP.365, initially released As Mammals Of California In 1947
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Relative brain size, computed by dividing brain size by body size, is a crude but useful measure of comparative intelligence. Of critical consideration is that the large size is due to great development of the neopallium, or gray matter, of the cerebrum, whose surface area and nervous connections are commonly increased by complex folds. The neopallium acts as a command center, processing information based upon memory and learning before coordinating appropriate motor responses. The advanced behaviors that typify mammals largely result from its presence.
Until the end of the Mesozoic, some 70 million years ago, the major categories of mammals were largely different from the modern ones. One, the multituberculates, is notable. They were the first herbivorous mammals and had unusually large bladelike lower premolars, apparently for cutting plants. They were successful for an extensive period, about 100 million years. Competition from the rodents, today's most successful mammals, appears to have been the final straw in their extinction. The Mesozoic, however, was the "Golden Age of Reptiles," a time when the dinosaurs and their allies ruled the roost.
It is a must to travel through Ogden Canyon at the height of the fall foliage, a trip every bit as delightful as an autumn drive through the New England countryside. Another recommended stop is Timpanogos Cave National Monument between Salt Lake City and Provo. Common trees in the higher parts of the range are conifers, such as white fir, subalpine fir, blue spruce, Engelmann spruce, and Douglas fir. Lower slopes tend to be dominated by a community of Gambel oak and bigtooth maple. In northeastern Utah is the only range in the Rockies that appears to have forgotten which way it was supposed to go: the Uinta Mountains.
Mammals of the Intermountain West by Samuel I. Zeveloff