The Nervous System of Cartilaginous Fishes
Cartilaginous fishes are comprised of nearly 1,200 species and occur in diverse ecological niches. Though once thought to have empirically simple brains, cartilaginous fishes possess a battery of highly developed sensory systems, a complex range of innate behaviors, and relatively enlarged and complex brains, which, unlike many other vertebrate systems, continue to grow throughout life. Their nervous system represents an early, yet remarkably complete stage in the evolution of the vertebrate brain, thereby allowing for establishment of the general rules that underlie brain evolution across vertebrates. Using a variety of approaches, ranging from traditional histological methodologies, to immunohistochemistry and electrophysiology, to more novel application of magnetic resonance imaging, this publication explores the diversity in peripheral and central development across this group, while simultaneously defining the neural commonalities that evolved at least as early as the cartilaginous fishes and have been conserved across all vertebrates.
This publication will be of interest to a wide variety of evolutionary biologists, neuroanatomists, as well as fish biologists, sensory physiologists, and ecologists.