Evolutionary neuroscience  

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As "Darwinism" became widely accepted in the 1870s, good-natured caricatures of him with an ape or monkey body symbolised evolution.
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As "Darwinism" became widely accepted in the 1870s, good-natured caricatures of him with an ape or monkey body symbolised evolution.

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Evolutionary neuroscience is an interdisciplinary scientific research field that studies the evolution of nervous systems. Evolutionary neuroscientists attempt to understand the evolution and natural history of nervous system structure and function. The field draws on concepts and findings from both neuroscience and evolutionary biology. Historically, most empirical work has been in the area of comparative neuroanatomy, and modern studies often make use of phylogenetic comparative methods. Selection experiments and experimental evolution approaches are also being used more frequently.

Conceptually and theoretically, the field is related to fields as diverse as comparative psychology, neuroethology, developmental neurobiology, evo-devo, behavioral ecology, anthropology and evolutionary psychology.

History

The field began after the publication of Darwin's On the Origin of Species, but brain evolution was largely viewed at the time in relation to the incorrect scala naturae. The 1936 book The Comparative Anatomy of the Nervous System of Vertebrates was a landmark publication in the field. Following the Evolutionary Synthesis, the study of comparative neuroanatomy was conducted with an evolutionary view, and modern studies incorporate developmental genetics.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Evolutionary neuroscience" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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