Getting A Head: What Makes Vertebrates So Special? – #UREES270 – 2018

Gans and Northcutt, 1983, Neural crest and the origin of vertebrates: A new head: Science, v. 220, p. 268-273.

What’s it about?

One thing that is truly unique among organisms is the concentration of sensory organs in the head of vertebrates. Ancestors of the vertebrates lacked this head. The authors discuss the embryological origins of the complex sensory systems of the vertebrate head.

Why does it matter?

Understanding how the sensory structures of the vertebrate head (senses of sight, hearing, and smell, in particular), is important to understanding how, and why, vertebrates became distinguished from other animals.

Why did I read this?

This is required reading for my vertebrate paleontology class. I guess I should read what I assign.

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