Neurobiology of monotremes : brain evolution in our distant by Ken Ashwell

By Ken Ashwell

The monotremes are an strange and evolutionarily very important workforce of mammals exhibiting extraordinary behavioral and physiological diversifications to their niches. they're the single mammals showing electroreception (in the trigeminal sensory pathways) and the echidna indicates particular olfactory specializations. This publication brings jointly present info at the improvement, constitution, functionality and behavioral ecology of the monotremes.

The writer goals to shut the present hole in wisdom among the genes and developmental biology of monotremes at the one hand, and the grownup constitution, functionality and ecology of monotremes at the different. He explores how the series “embryonic constitution › grownup constitution › habit” is accomplished in monotremes and the way this differs from different mammals. The paintings additionally combines a close evaluation of the neurobiology of monotremes with photographic and diagrammatic atlases of the sectioned grownup brains and peripheral apprehensive approach of the short-beaked echidna and platypus. Pairing of a close evaluate of the sector with the 1st released mind atlases of 2 of the 3 dwelling monotremes will enable the reader to right away relate key issues within the textual content to beneficial properties within the atlases and may expand a common process of mind nomenclature constructed in eutherian mind atlases via G. Paxinos and associates to monotremes.

* Craig D. Hardman--Department of Anatomy, university of clinical Sciences, collage of latest South Wales
* A. M. Musser--Australian Museum, Sydney
* Stewart C. Nicol--School of Zoology, collage of Tasmania

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The eggs are incubated in the female’s pouch and hatch after 10 or 11 days. The lactation period for platypuses is about 19 weeks, but for echidnas there are large differences between populations from different parts of Australia: in eastern Australian echidnas the lactation period may be as little as 20 weeks, and in Western Australian and Kangaroo Island as much as 30 weeks. There are also differences in other aspects of maternal care between these echidna populations. All the monotremes have low metabolic rates, but echidna metabolic rates are extremely low, and shortbeaked echidnas in cooler areas show long periods of hibernation.

He described a range of behavioural postures and social behaviour patterns, and dominance hierarchies. ‘Much of the dominance-subordinance relationships between echidnas is resolved by the subordinate individual recognising some dominance feature (apparently size) of another and avoiding any contact with the dominant animal’ (Brattstrom 1973). He concluded that: ‘Many complicated behavioural postures such as grooming, aggression, courtship, and maternal behaviour are missing in the echidna. The echidna thus seems to have a behaviour that is not only 2 – Behaviour and ecology of monotremes simpler than that found in most mammals, but perhaps simpler also than that of many lizards’, but did note that ‘many postures elicited in captivity may never occur in the wild state and vice versa’.

1979) – or 40% of the value predicted from the more representative placental dataset used by Weisbecker and Goswami (2010) – and the long-beaked echidna has an even lower metabolic rate (Dawson et al. 1979; McNab 1984). The platypus metabolic rate, although low, is similar to that of many marsupials and placental mammals of the same mass, and platypus are continuously active for many hours in thermally challenging cold-water environments (Bethge et al. 2003). Short-beaked echidnas show much lower levels of activity and further reduce energy expenditure by employing torpor and hibernation, but there is no evidence that long-beaked echidnas or platypus employ torpor (Nicol et al.

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