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Key steps in the evolution of mammalian movement: A prolegomenal essay

Brownstone, RM; (2020) Key steps in the evolution of mammalian movement: A prolegomenal essay. Neuroscience 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2020.05.020. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Rich repertoires of movements underlie the complex social interactions of mammals. The building blocks, or syllables, of these movements are produced by spinal cord circuits that are comprised of diverse neuronal types that control musculoskeletal systems comprised of multi-segmented limbs. Together, these systems provide mammals with the evolutionary advantages of power, speed, and endurance. Here, I propose that the key steps in chordate evolution that led to these traits began with the development of the notochord and a proliferative ventricular zone (with associated Notch signalling). This step led to the production of diverse neuronal types that included the development of a sympathetic nervous system that could regulate the evolving cardiovascular system. And the sympathetic nervous system in turn led to the development of homeothermic endothermy, a requirement for motor systems to produce a combination of power, speed, and endurance. Furthermore, the evolution of the continuous structure of the spinal cord led not only to a structure fit for cartesian signalling molecules, but also to one with high processing power in which circuits for effecting movement syllables formed. These syllables are harnessed by higher regions of nervous systems to produce the complex movements required for interactions with others and with the surrounding environment.

Type: Article
Title: Key steps in the evolution of mammalian movement: A prolegomenal essay
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2020.05.020
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroscience.2020.05.0...
Language: English
Additional information: © 2020 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd on behalf of IBRO. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
Keywords: notochord, ventricular zone, sympathetic nervous system, endothermy, spinal cord, movement, microcircuits, cardiovascular evolution
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Department of Neuromuscular Diseases
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10098953
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