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Integrative Neuroanatomy and The Origin of Birds

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr Rachael Rhodes.

The evolution of flight is a rare event in vertebrate history, and one that demands functional integration across multiple anatomical/physiological systems. The neuroanatomical basis for such integration and the role that brain evolution assumes in behavioural transformations remains poorly understood. Avian powered flight is especially conducive to study because it occurs in a group whose extant diversity is abundant, easily sampled, and tied to a stem lineage rich in well-preserved fossils. This combination permits experimental data to be integrated with broad-based, macroevolutionary patterns to better understand the demands that powered flying makes on structural complexes that originated for terrestrial locomotion. My research takes patterns derived from in-vivo analysis of the brain of flying birds to make predictions about those structural neuroanatomical changes that would be expected to occur and the phylogenetic position of these transformations in the fossil record of non-avian dinosaurs.

This talk is part of the Department of Earth Sciences Seminars (downtown) series.

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