Presentation by Dr. Rudolf Rübsamen
Phylogenetic sophistication: From lateral line organ to audition
Abstract: In this seminar I will browse through 500 Mio years of vertebrate evolution and explore the systems that ultimately became the auditory system. It will become clear that the auditory system is just the youngest offspring in a variety of monophyletic sensory systems serving very different functions. A remarkable finding is also the fact that throughout evolution functional changes in these systems mostly concerned supporting structures. From a neuroscientist’s perspective it is necessary to dwell on these matters because of the ecological demands which – throughout the evolutionary modifications of the systems – had a strong impact on the organization of the central neuronal circuitries. With respect to the central auditory system the results are a confusing arrangement of subcortical and cortical processing stages with multiple interhemispheric connections. An attempt will be made to get (at least some) understanding of the why of this complexity.
Rudolf Rübsamen, Ph.D., is Professor at the University of Leipzig, Germany.