The Nervous System of Vertebrates (Classic Reprint)by John Black Johnston
The attempt has been made in the following pages to give an account of the nervous system as a whole, to trace its phylogenetic history and to show the factors which have determined the course of evolution. This has been made possible by recent studies directed toward the analysis of the nervous system on the basis of
Excerpt from The Nervous System of Vertebrates
The attempt has been made in the following pages to give an account of the nervous system as a whole, to trace its phylogenetic history and to show the factors which have determined the course of evolution. This has been made possible by recent studies directed toward the analysis of the nervous system on the basis of function. The functional point of view, which is the chief characteristic of the present book, brings the treatment of the nervous system into close relation with the work of recent years on the behavior of animals. The study of behavior aims to give an account of the actions of animals in relation to the environment. The study of the nervous system aims to describe the mechanism by which actions are directed and adapted to the conditions of life.
A text-book of comparative neurology at the present time must meet the needs of workers of all grades, students, investigators and instructors. Its descriptions should be intelligible to students who have had one year of work in zoology or medicine, including the anatomy and embryology of some vertebrate. On the other hand there should be included all facts which are important for the functional and phylogenetic mode of treatment. How far these difficult conditions have been met only the use of the book can show. Little space is given to mere descriptive anatomy and some descriptive matter which is well presented in the text-books of zoology, anatomy and histology in common use, is omitted. This accounts for the brief treatment of the eye, ear and other sense organs, the distribution of the spinal nerves, etc. On the other hand, every effort has been made to bring out clearly the functional significance and relationships of the structures described, and to interest and train the student in the interpretation of structure in terms of function, adaptation and evolution.
In the preparation of the text considerable time has been given to the review of the author's earlier work and that of other writers, and to the study of many unsettled questions.
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