Principles Of Brain Evolution / Edition 1

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Brain evolution is a complex weave of species similarities and differences, bound by diverse rules or principles. This book is a detailed examination of these principles, using data from a wide array of vertebrates but minimizing technical details and terminology. It is written for advanced undergraduates, graduate students, and more senior scientists who already know something about "the brain," but want a deeper understanding of how diverse brains evolved. The book opens with a brief history of evolutionary neuroscience, then introduces the various groups of vertebrates and their major brain regions. The core of the text explores: what aspects of brain organization are conserved across the vertebrates; how brains and bodies changed in size as vertebrates evolved; how individual brain regions tend to increase or decrease in size; how regions can become structurally more (or less) complex; and how neuronal circuitry evolves. A central theme emerges from these chapters-that evolutionary changes in brain size tend to correlate with many other aspects of brain structure and function, including the proportional size of individual brain regions, their complexity, and their neuronal connections. To explain these correlations, the book delves into rules of brain development and asks how changes in brain structure impact function and behavior. The two penultimate chapters demonstrate the application of these rules, focusing on how mammal brains diverged from other brains and how Homo sapiens evolved a very large and "special" brain.

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Editorial Reviews

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Celso Agner, MD, MS, MSc (Michigan Neurology Partners)
Description: Understanding brain evolution helps one to understand the development of humans as species and the ways to overcome the current misunderstandings of science. Review of the current knowledge of brain evolution establishes a good venue for the study of behavior in humans.
Purpose: The purpose of this book is to address the current understanding of brain evolution throughout different species and why some of our characteristics remained intact through genetic evolution. Those worthy objectives are fully met by all authors.
Audience: Neurologists, neurophysiologists, and neuropsychologists would be the most appropriate targets for this book. The authors are definitely authorities in the field.
Features: It is almost like reading Darwin's evolutional monographs for the brain. Where do our brains derive from? Why are we the dominant species? What makes us special? What makes us think the way we do? Obviously, most of these questions are unanswered, since this book is a summary of what is currently known and accepted as part of brain evolution. The references are up-to-date. It is a well written and illustrated book. It is worth reading.
Assessment: This is an important book for neurology, neuroscience, and neuropsychology libraries. The price is reasonable and affordable to most.

3 Stars from Doody
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780878938209
  • Publisher: Sinauer Associates, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/30/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 436
  • Product dimensions: 7.04 (w) x 9.34 (h) x 0.97 (d)

Table of Contents

Ch. 1 Evolutionary neuroscience : this book's scope and ambition 1
Ch. 2 A history of comparative neurobiology 19
Ch. 3 Conservation in vertebrate brains 51
Ch. 4 Evolutionary changes in overall brain size 93
Ch. 5 Evolutionary changes in brain region size 137
Ch. 6 Evolutionary changes in brain region structure 177
Ch. 7 Evolution of neuronal connectivity 217
Ch. 8 What's special about mammal brains? 255
Ch. 9 What's special about human brains? 297
Ch. 10 Reflections and prospect 345
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