Development of the brain

Studies of mental functions, behaviors and the nervous system.

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Development of the brain

#1  Postby Adco » Oct 02, 2013 8:51 pm

I've got brains on my brain. Trying to find out more about them and I'm too lazy to do research plus I thought it might be an interesting topic for discussion.

Where and/or when, in the evolutionary process of life, did brains start to form? How did it come about that a collection of molecules turn into neurons and whatever else makes up a brain, formed into a decision making center that is able to control a living creature?

Some organisms don't have brains and survive and thrive with relative ease. Is there an advantage to having a brain? What are the smallest organisms with brains? Is there a minimum size requirement?

Lots of silly questions but if I don't ask.....
god must love stupid people - he made so many of them
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Re: Development of the brain

#2  Postby Animavore » Oct 02, 2013 8:57 pm

A most evolved electron.
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Re: Development of the brain

#3  Postby Adco » Oct 02, 2013 9:19 pm

:thumbup: Thanks Ani, that's exactly what I was looking for.
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Re: Development of the brain

#4  Postby DavidMcC » Oct 03, 2013 1:14 pm

Adco wrote:I've got brains on my brain. Trying to find out more about them and I'm too lazy to do research plus I thought it might be an interesting topic for discussion.

Where and/or when, in the evolutionary process of life, did brains start to form? How did it come about that a collection of molecules turn into neurons and whatever else makes up a brain, formed into a decision making center that is able to control a living creature?

Some organisms don't have brains and survive and thrive with relative ease. Is there an advantage to having a brain? What are the smallest organisms with brains? Is there a minimum size requirement?

Lots of silly questions but if I don't ask.....

They didn't start once. The last common ancestor of vertebrates and, say, arthropods, had neurons, but no brain - they were jellyfish-like. Brains therefore evolved separately for the two groups.
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Re: Development of the brain

#5  Postby natselrox » Oct 03, 2013 3:37 pm

A sort of basic book to get you started would be "Evolving Brains" by Allman. It's very simple and rather wonderfully written.
When in perplexity, read on.

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Re: Development of the brain

#6  Postby DavidMcC » Oct 03, 2013 4:30 pm

natselrox wrote:A sort of basic book to get you started would be "Evolving Brains" by Allman. It's very simple and rather wonderfully written.

Does it start with jellyfish? :smile:
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Re: Development of the brain

#7  Postby natselrox » Oct 03, 2013 4:38 pm

Umm... Something like that... :)
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Re: Development of the brain

#8  Postby Animavore » Oct 03, 2013 4:40 pm

Creationists?
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Re: Development of the brain

#9  Postby DavidMcC » Oct 03, 2013 4:46 pm

natselrox wrote:Umm... Something like that... :)

How many different evolutionary paths from there are followed? Just the bilaterian - vertebrate - mammal - human line?
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Re: Development of the brain

#10  Postby natselrox » Oct 03, 2013 5:22 pm

It is a book on the evolution of human brains and it does not follow a linear narrative like the one you mentioned. It's rather like a diffuse tracing of the roots of various aspects of the human nervous system through different lenses.

A bit of shameless self-plugging: I posted a blogpost on the embryological aspects of this thing... Building Brains: Symmetry, Synapses, and Shakespeare
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Re: Development of the brain

#11  Postby archibald » Oct 03, 2013 5:57 pm

natselrox wrote:A sort of basic book to get you started would be "Evolving Brains" by Allman. It's very simple and rather wonderfully written.


Just browsed it and have ordered it. Boy, this place is great for book recommendations. :thumbup:
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Re: Development of the brain

#12  Postby Adco » Oct 04, 2013 5:52 am

natselrox wrote:It is a book on the evolution of human brains and it does not follow a linear narrative like the one you mentioned. It's rather like a diffuse tracing of the roots of various aspects of the human nervous system through different lenses.

A bit of shameless self-plugging: I posted a blogpost on the embryological aspects of this thing... Building Brains: Symmetry, Synapses, and Shakespeare

Great blog. I like your writing style.
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Re: Development of the brain

#13  Postby DavidMcC » Dec 10, 2013 3:27 pm

natselrox wrote:It is a book on the evolution of human brains and it does not follow a linear narrative like the one you mentioned. It's rather like a diffuse tracing of the roots of various aspects of the human nervous system through different lenses.

A bit of shameless self-plugging: I posted a blogpost on the embryological aspects of this thing... Building Brains: Symmetry, Synapses, and Shakespeare

Late comment:
The evolution of a particular species is none-the-less a linear path through the evolutionary tree of the animals. The way I see it, to make it "diffuse", you have to include the brain-evolution of other species.
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