When did the first vertebrates emerge, and how did they differ from their invertebrate ancestors? When did vertebrates evolve jaws, paired fins, pattern vision, or a neocortex? How have evolutionary innovations such as these impacted vertebrate behavior and success? Georg Striedter and Glenn Northcutt answer these fundamental questions about all major vertebrate lineages. Highlighting the key innovations of each major taxonomic group, they review how evolutionary changes in vertebrate genetics, anatomy, and physiology are reflected in the nervous system. This highly accessible book allows readers to explore a vast expanse of scientific knowledge, ranging from paleoecology to comparative molecular biology, sensory biology to neural circuit evolution, and fossil anatomy to animal behavior.
Brains Through Time examines how vertebrate nervous systems evolved in conjunction with other organ systems and the planet’s ecology. Surveying an enormous range of information on genes and proteins, sensory and motor systems, central neural circuits, physiology, and animal behavior, the authors reconstruct the major changes that occurred as vertebrates emerged and then diversified. In the process, readers are transported back in time to key stages of vertebrate evolution, notably the origin of vertebrates, the evolution of paired fins and jaws, the transition to life on land, and the origins of warm-blooded mammals and birds.