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Evolutionary neuroscience

Evolutionary Neuroscience History: – Brain studies trace back to ancient Egyptian times. – The field of evolutionary neuroscience emerged after Darwin’s ‘On the Origin of […]

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Evolutionary Neuroscience History:
– Brain studies trace back to ancient Egyptian times.
– The field of evolutionary neuroscience emerged after Darwin’s ‘On the Origin of Species.’
– Prevailing theories in the early 20th century included Darwinism, Lamarckism, Orthogenesis, and Saltationism.
– C.U. Ariëns Kappers’ book on nervous system anatomy was a landmark publication.
– Modern studies incorporate developmental genetics and non-linear phylogenetic changes.

Major Arguments in Evolutionary Neuroscience:
– Debate between Etienne Geoffro St. Hilaire and George Cuvier on common plan versus diversity.
– Discussion on Scala Naturae versus phylogenetic bush.
– Brain size relevance in determining function.
– Argument of natural selection (Darwinism) versus developmental constraints.
– Evolution of development causes differences in adult species.

Techniques in Evolutionary Neuroscience:
– Camillo Golgi devised the silver nitrate method in 1873.
– Vittorio Marchi discovered a staining technique in 1885.
– Multiple molecular tracers were discovered in the 1970s.
– Cladistics has become a useful tool for brain variation analysis.
– Development of techniques for identifying neuronal cell groups and fiber bundles.

Evolution of Brains:
– Earth’s early years had brainless creatures like the amphioxus.
– Amphioxus had a simple nervous system optimized for its environment.
– Brain evolution was not solely for thinking ability.
– Animals became sensitive to hunting during the Cambrian period.

Evolution of the Human Brain:
– Charles Darwin’s theory states that the mind evolved with the body.
– All humans have a primitive core according to Darwin.
– Darwin’s theory influenced the study of animal brain evolution.
– Research in molecular genetics disproved Plato’s lizard brain theory.
– Recent studies suggest common structural patterns in mammal brains.

Reptile Brain:
– Plato theorized that humans evolved from lizards.
– The lizard brain concept was part of the triune brain theory.
– Modern science refuted the triune brain theory.
– Recent research suggests similarities in brain neurons across species.
– Human cerebral cortex evolution is still not fully understood.

Evolutionary neuroscience (Wikipedia)

Evolutionary neuroscience is the scientific study of the evolution of nervous systems. Evolutionary neuroscientists investigate the evolution and natural history of nervous system structure, functions and emergent properties. The field draws on concepts and findings from both neuroscience and evolutionary biology. Historically, most empirical work has been in the area of comparative neuroanatomy, and modern studies often make use of phylogenetic comparative methods. Selective breeding and experimental evolution approaches are also being used more frequently.

Conceptually and theoretically, the field is related to fields as diverse as cognitive genomics, neurogenetics, developmental neuroscience, neuroethology, comparative psychology, evo-devo, behavioral neuroscience, cognitive neuroscience, behavioral ecology, biological anthropology and sociobiology.

Evolutionary neuroscientists examine changes in genes, anatomy, physiology, and behavior to study the evolution of changes in the brain. They study a multitude of processes including the evolution of vocal, visual, auditory, taste, and learning systems as well as language evolution and development. In addition, evolutionary neuroscientists study the evolution of specific areas or structures in the brain such as the amygdala, forebrain and cerebellum as well as the motor or visual cortex.

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