An option space for early neural evolution

Gáspár Jékely, Franciscus Keijzer, Peter Godfrey-Smith

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The origin of nervous systems has traditionally been discussed within two conceptual frameworks. Input-output models stress the sensory-motor aspects of nervous systems, while internal coordination models emphasize the role of nervous systems in coordinating multicellular activity, especially muscle-based motility. Here we consider both frameworks and apply them to describe aspects of each of three main groups of phenomena that nervous systems control: behavior, physiology and development. We argue that both frameworks and all three aspects of nervous system function need to be considered for a comprehensive discussion of nervous system origins. This broad mapping of the option space enables an overview of the many influences and constraints that may have played a role in the evolution of the first nervous systems.
Original languageEnglish
Article number20150181
Number of pages10
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B
Publication statusPublished - 9-Nov-2015

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