Evolution of the ventricles. (1/130)

We studied the evolution of ventricles by macroscopic examination of the hearts of marine cartilaginous and bony fish, and by angiocardiography and gross examination of the hearts of air-breathing freshwater fish, frogs, turtles, snakes, and crocodiles. A right-sided, thin-walled ventricular lumen is seen in the fish, frog, turtle, and snake. In fish, there is external symmetry of the ventricle, internal asymmetry, and a thick-walled left ventricle with a small inlet chamber. In animals such as frogs, turtles, and snakes, the left ventricle exists as a small-cavitied contractile sponge. The high pressure generated by this spongy left ventricle, the direction of the jet, the ventriculoarterial orientation, and the bulbar spiral valve in the frog help to separate the systemic and pulmonary circulations. In the crocodile, the right aorta is connected to the left ventricle, and there is a complete interventricular septum and an improved left ventricular lumen when compared with turtles and snakes. The heart is housed in a rigid pericardial cavity in the shark, possibly to protect it from changing underwater pressure. The pericardial cavity in various species permits movements of the heart-which vary depending on the ventriculoarterial orientation and need for the ventricle to generate torque or spin on the ejected blood- that favor run-off into the appropriate arteries and their branches. In the lower species, it is not clear whether the spongy myocardium contributes to myocardial oxygenation. In human beings, spongy myocardium constitutes a rare form of congenital heart disease.  (+info)

Chordate evolution and the origin of craniates: an old brain in a new head. (2/130)

The earliest craniates achieved a unique condition among bilaterally symmetrical animals: they possessed enlarged, elaborated brains with paired sense organs and unique derivatives of neural crest and placodal tissues, including peripheral sensory ganglia, visceral arches, and head skeleton. The craniate sister taxon, cephalochordates, has rostral portions of the neuraxis that are homologous to some of the major divisions of craniate brains. Moreover, recent data indicate that many genes involved in patterning the nervous system are common to all bilaterally symmetrical animals and have been inherited from a common ancestor. Craniates, thus, have an "old" brain in a new head, due to re-expression of these anciently acquired genes. The transition to the craniate brain from a cephalochordate-like ancestral form may have involved a mediolateral shift in expression of the genes that specify nervous system development from various parts of the ectoderm. It is suggested here that the transition was sequential. The first step involved the presence of paired, lateral eyes, elaboration of the alar plate, and enhancement of the descending visual pathway to brainstem motor centers. Subsequently, this central visual pathway served as a template for the additional sensory systems that were elaborated and/or augmented with the "bloom" of migratory neural crest and placodes. This model accounts for the marked uniformity of pattern across central sensory pathways and for the lack of any neural crest-placode cranial nerve for either the diencephalon or mesencephalon. Anat Rec (New Anat) 261:111-125, 2000.  (+info)

Evolution of the basal ganglia: new perspectives through a comparative approach. (3/130)

The basal ganglia (BG) have received much attention during the last 3 decades mainly because of their clinical relevance. Our understanding of their structure, organisation and function in terms of chemoarchitecture, compartmentalisation, connections and receptor localisation has increased equally. Most of the research has been focused on the mammalian BG, but a considerable number of studies have been carried out in nonmammalian vertebrates, in particular reptiles and birds. The BG of the latter 2 classes of vertebrates, which together with mammals constitute the amniotic vertebrates, have been thoroughly studied by means of tract-tracing and immunohistochemical techniques. The terminology used for amniotic BG structures has frequently been adopted to indicate putative corresponding structures in the brain of anamniotes, i.e. amphibians and fishes, but data for such a comparison were, until recently, almost totally lacking. It has been proposed several times that the occurrence of well developed BG structures probably constitutes a landmark in the anamniote-amniote transition. However, our recent studies of connections, chemoarchitecture and development of the basal forebrain of amphibians have revealed that tetrapod vertebrates share a common pattern of BG organisation. This pattern includes the existence of dorsal and ventral striatopallidal systems, reciprocal connections between the striatopallidal complex and the diencephalic and mesencephalic basal plate (striatonigral and nigrostriatal projections), and descending pathways from the striatopallidal system to the midbrain tectum and reticular formation. The connectional similarities are paralleled by similarities in the distribution of chemical markers of striatal and pallidal structures such as dopamine, substance P and enkephalin, as well as by similarities in development and expression of homeobox genes. On the other hand, a major evolutionary trend is the progressive involvement of the cortex in the processing of the thalamic sensory information relayed to the BG of tetrapods. By using the comparative approach, new insights have been gained with respect to certain features of the BG of vertebrates in general, such as the segmental organisation of the midbrain dopaminergic cell groups, the occurrence of large numbers of dopaminergic cell bodies within the telencephalon itself and the variability in, among others, connectivity and chemoarchitecture. However, the intriguing question whether the basal forebrain organisation of nontetrapods differs essentially from that observed in tetrapods still needs to be answered.  (+info)

Evolutionary anticipation of the human heart. (4/130)

We have studied the comparative anatomy of hearts from fish, frog, turtle, snake, crocodile, birds (duck, chicken, quail), mammals (elephant, dolphin, sheep, goat, ox, baboon, wallaby, mouse, rabbit, possum, echidna) and man. The findings were analysed with respect to the mechanism of evolution of the heart.  (+info)

Soft-tissue anatomy of the extant hominoids: a review and phylogenetic analysis. (5/130)

This paper reports the results of a literature search for information about the soft-tissue anatomy of the extant non-human hominoid genera, Pan, Gorilla, Pongo and Hylobates, together with the results of a phylogenetic analysis of these data plus comparable data for Homo. Information on the four extant non-human hominoid genera was located for 240 out of the 1783 soft-tissue structures listed in the Nomina Anatomica. Numerically these data are biased so that information about some systems (e.g. muscles) and some regions (e.g. the forelimb) are over-represented, whereas other systems and regions (e.g. the veins and the lymphatics of the vascular system, the head region) are either under-represented or not represented at all. Screening to ensure that the data were suitable for use in a phylogenetic analysis reduced the number of eligible soft-tissue structures to 171. These data, together with comparable data for modern humans, were converted into discontinuous character states suitable for phylogenetic analysis and then used to construct a taxon-by-character matrix. This matrix was used in two tests of the hypothesis that soft-tissue characters can be relied upon to reconstruct hominoid phylogenetic relationships. In the first, parsimony analysis was used to identify cladograms requiring the smallest number of character state changes. In the second, the phylogenetic bootstrap was used to determine the confidence intervals of the most parsimonious clades. The parsimony analysis yielded a single most parsimonious cladogram that matched the molecular cladogram. Similarly the bootstrap analysis yielded clades that were compatible with the molecular cladogram; a (Homo, Pan) clade was supported by 95% of the replicates, and a (Gorilla, Pan, Homo) clade by 96%. These are the first hominoid morphological data to provide statistically significant support for the clades favoured by the molecular evidence.  (+info)

Evolution of the structure and function of the vertebrate tongue. (6/130)

Studies of the comparative morphology of the tongues of living vertebrates have revealed how variations in the morphology and function of the organ might be related to evolutional events. The tongue, which plays a very important role in food intake by vertebrates, exhibits significant morphological variations that appear to represent adaptation to the current environmental conditions of each respective habitat. This review examines the fundamental importance of morphology in the evolution of the vertebrate tongue, focusing on the origin of the tongue and on the relationship between morphology and environmental conditions. Tongues of various extant vertebrates, including those of amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals, were analysed in terms of gross anatomy and microanatomy by light microscopy and by scanning and transmission electron microscopy. Comparisons of tongue morphology revealed a relationship between changes in the appearance of the tongue and changes in habitat, from a freshwater environment to a terrestrial environment, as well as a relationship between the extent of keratinization of the lingual epithelium and the transition from a moist or wet environment to a dry environment. The lingual epithelium of amphibians is devoid of keratinization while that of reptilians is keratinized to different extents. Reptiles live in a variety of habitats, from seawater to regions of high temperature and very high or very low humidity. Keratinization of the lingual epithelium is considered to have been acquired concomitantly with the evolution of amniotes. The variations in the extent of keratinization of the lingual epithelium, which is observed between various amniotes, appear to be secondary, reflecting the environmental conditions of different species.  (+info)

Comparative morphology of Astraea latispina (Philippi, 1844) and Astraea olfersii (Philippi, 1846) (Mollusca, Gastropoda, Turbinidae). (7/130)

The present study examines comparatively the soft parts of turbinids Astraea latispina and Astraea olfersii. The characters of soft parts of these species, in agreement with Trochoidea organization, allow a differential diagnosis on the cefalic lappets, appendix of eye-stalk, hypobranchial glands, jaws, radulae, and stomach spiral caecum, which information will be helpful in taxonomic studies.  (+info)


Frontal organs and epiphyses of the pineal system from the adult frog, Rana pipiens, were fixed in s-collidine-buffered osmium tetroxide, embedded in Epon 812, and examined by electron microscopy. Epiphyseal material was also fixed in a variety of ways and subjected to a series of cytochemical tests for light microscopy. An ultrastructure resembling that of lateral eye retina is confirmed in this species. Photoreceptor cells of the epiphysis and frontal organ display many cytological features similar to those of retinal rods and cones in the arrangement of their outer and inner segments and synaptic components. However, in these pineal organs the outer segments are disoriented relative to each other and may display a disarranged internal organization unlike normal retinal photoreceptors. Furthermore, other pineal outer segments often appear degenerate. Since immature stages in the development of new outer segments also appear to be present, adult pineal photoreceptors are probably engaged in a constant renewal of outer segment membranes. The evidence further suggests that macrophages are involved in phagocytosis of degenerated outer segments. Postulated photoreceptor activities and the possibility of secondary pineal functions, such as secretion, are discussed in view of current morphological and cytochemical findings.  (+info)