Brains Through Time

Publisher : Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN-13 : 0195125681

Page : 540 pages

Rating : 4.5/5 from 681 voters

"Much is conserved in vertebrate evolution, but significant changes in the nervous system occurred at the origin of vertebrates and in most of the major vertebrate lineages. This book examines these innovations and relates them to evolutionary changes in other organ systems, animal behavior, and ecological conditions at the time. The resulting perspective clarifies what makes the major vertebrate lineages unique and helps explain their varying degrees of ecological success. One of the book's major conclusions is that vertebrate nervous systems are more diverse than commonly assumed, at least among neurobiologists. Examples of important innovations include not only the emergence of novel brain regions, such as the cerebellum and neocortex, but also major changes in neuronal circuitry and functional organization. A second major conclusion is that many of the apparent similarities in vertebrate nervous systems resulted from convergent evolution, rather than inheritance from a common ancestor. For example, brain size and complexity increased numerous times, in many vertebrate lineages. In conjunction with these changes, olfactory inputs to the telencephalic pallium were reduced in several different lineages, and this reduction was associated with the emergence of pallial regions that process non-olfactory sensory inputs. These conclusions cast doubt on the widely held assumption that all vertebrate nervous systems are built according to a single, common plan. Instead, the book encourages readers to view both species similarities and differences as fundamental to a comprehensive understanding of nervous systems. Evolution; Phylogeny; Neuroscience; Neurobiology; Neuroanatomy; Functional Morphology; Paleoecology; Homology; Endocast; Brain"--

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