Fossils and the Evolution of the Arthropod Brain

Nicholas J Strausfeld, Xiaoya Ma, Gregory D. Edgecombe

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The discovery of fossilized brains and ventral nerve cords in lower and mid-Cambrian arthropods has led to crucial insights about the evolution of their central nervous system, the segmental identity of head appendages and the early evolution of eyes and their underlying visual systems. Fundamental ground patterns of lower Cambrian arthropod brains and nervous systems correspond to the ground patterns of brains and nervous systems belonging to three of four major extant panarthropod lineages. These findings demonstrate the evolutionary stability of early neural arrangements over an immense time span. Here, we put these fossil discoveries in the context of evidence from cladistics, as well as developmental and comparative neuroanatomy, which together suggest that despite many evolved modifications of neuropil centers within arthropod brains and ganglia, highly conserved arrangements have been retained. Recent phylogenies of the arthropods, based on fossil and molecular evidence, and estimates of divergence dates, suggest that neural ground patterns characterizing onychophorans, chelicerates and mandibulates are likely to have diverged between the terminal Ediacaran and earliest Cambrian, heralding the exuberant diversification of body forms that account for the Cambrian Explosion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R989-R1000
JournalCurrent Biology
Volume26
Issue number20
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 24 2016

Fingerprint

Arthropods
arthropods
Brain
Neurology
fossils
brain
nervous system
Nervous System
Neuroanatomy
ventral nerve cord
Neuropil
Explosions
phylogeny
explosions
Phylogeny
appendages
Ganglia
central nervous system
Central Nervous System
eyes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

Cite this

Fossils and the Evolution of the Arthropod Brain. / Strausfeld, Nicholas J; Ma, Xiaoya; Edgecombe, Gregory D.

In: Current Biology, Vol. 26, No. 20, 24.10.2016, p. R989-R1000.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Strausfeld, Nicholas J ; Ma, Xiaoya ; Edgecombe, Gregory D. / Fossils and the Evolution of the Arthropod Brain. In: Current Biology. 2016 ; Vol. 26, No. 20. pp. R989-R1000.
@article{28c0618c2c164a02a149a471108849fe,
title = "Fossils and the Evolution of the Arthropod Brain",
abstract = "The discovery of fossilized brains and ventral nerve cords in lower and mid-Cambrian arthropods has led to crucial insights about the evolution of their central nervous system, the segmental identity of head appendages and the early evolution of eyes and their underlying visual systems. Fundamental ground patterns of lower Cambrian arthropod brains and nervous systems correspond to the ground patterns of brains and nervous systems belonging to three of four major extant panarthropod lineages. These findings demonstrate the evolutionary stability of early neural arrangements over an immense time span. Here, we put these fossil discoveries in the context of evidence from cladistics, as well as developmental and comparative neuroanatomy, which together suggest that despite many evolved modifications of neuropil centers within arthropod brains and ganglia, highly conserved arrangements have been retained. Recent phylogenies of the arthropods, based on fossil and molecular evidence, and estimates of divergence dates, suggest that neural ground patterns characterizing onychophorans, chelicerates and mandibulates are likely to have diverged between the terminal Ediacaran and earliest Cambrian, heralding the exuberant diversification of body forms that account for the Cambrian Explosion.",
author = "Strausfeld, {Nicholas J} and Xiaoya Ma and Edgecombe, {Gregory D.}",
year = "2016",
month = "10",
day = "24",
doi = "10.1016/j.cub.2016.09.012",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "26",
pages = "R989--R1000",
journal = "Current Biology",
issn = "0960-9822",
publisher = "Cell Press",
number = "20",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Fossils and the Evolution of the Arthropod Brain

AU - Strausfeld, Nicholas J

AU - Ma, Xiaoya

AU - Edgecombe, Gregory D.

PY - 2016/10/24

Y1 - 2016/10/24

N2 - The discovery of fossilized brains and ventral nerve cords in lower and mid-Cambrian arthropods has led to crucial insights about the evolution of their central nervous system, the segmental identity of head appendages and the early evolution of eyes and their underlying visual systems. Fundamental ground patterns of lower Cambrian arthropod brains and nervous systems correspond to the ground patterns of brains and nervous systems belonging to three of four major extant panarthropod lineages. These findings demonstrate the evolutionary stability of early neural arrangements over an immense time span. Here, we put these fossil discoveries in the context of evidence from cladistics, as well as developmental and comparative neuroanatomy, which together suggest that despite many evolved modifications of neuropil centers within arthropod brains and ganglia, highly conserved arrangements have been retained. Recent phylogenies of the arthropods, based on fossil and molecular evidence, and estimates of divergence dates, suggest that neural ground patterns characterizing onychophorans, chelicerates and mandibulates are likely to have diverged between the terminal Ediacaran and earliest Cambrian, heralding the exuberant diversification of body forms that account for the Cambrian Explosion.

AB - The discovery of fossilized brains and ventral nerve cords in lower and mid-Cambrian arthropods has led to crucial insights about the evolution of their central nervous system, the segmental identity of head appendages and the early evolution of eyes and their underlying visual systems. Fundamental ground patterns of lower Cambrian arthropod brains and nervous systems correspond to the ground patterns of brains and nervous systems belonging to three of four major extant panarthropod lineages. These findings demonstrate the evolutionary stability of early neural arrangements over an immense time span. Here, we put these fossil discoveries in the context of evidence from cladistics, as well as developmental and comparative neuroanatomy, which together suggest that despite many evolved modifications of neuropil centers within arthropod brains and ganglia, highly conserved arrangements have been retained. Recent phylogenies of the arthropods, based on fossil and molecular evidence, and estimates of divergence dates, suggest that neural ground patterns characterizing onychophorans, chelicerates and mandibulates are likely to have diverged between the terminal Ediacaran and earliest Cambrian, heralding the exuberant diversification of body forms that account for the Cambrian Explosion.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84994716226&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84994716226&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.cub.2016.09.012

DO - 10.1016/j.cub.2016.09.012

M3 - Review article

C2 - 27780074

AN - SCOPUS:84994716226

VL - 26

SP - R989-R1000

JO - Current Biology

JF - Current Biology

SN - 0960-9822

IS - 20

ER -