Neural Darwinism: The Theory of Neuronal Group Selection

By Gerald M. Edelman | Go to book overview

6
Evolution and Function
of Distributed Systems

Evolution of nuclei and laminae 140 · Localization of function 141 · Phenotypic function and neural structure 142 · Outstanding problems in the evolution of the nervous system 142 · Methodological constraints 144 · Grand themes in the evolution of vertebrate nervous systems 144 · A network example: the visual system of the turtle 148 · Evolutionary origins of centers: the parcellation hypothesis 152 · An alternative explanation: heterochrony and the regulator hypothesis 156 · Degeneracy as an evolutionary consequence 162 · The confinement-selection-competition model of cortical mapping 164 · Heterochronic change, functional mapping, and evolutionary selection 173


INTRODUCTION

So far, we have considered the evidence for the origins of constancy and variability of neural structures within a species, particularly within the individual during development. Although this provides a basis for understanding certain aspects of neuronal group selection in the formation of local maps, it does not account for the evolutionary origins of larger neural structures such as particular nuclei and laminae, for the regionally defined neuroanatomical characteristics of particular maps, or for map-to-map interaction in a reentrant fashion. No brain theory can be considered complete without relating its premises to the evolutionary origins of these structures, especially to the distributed nature

-140-

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