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date: 28 June 2022

Somatosensory Specializations in Mammalslocked

Somatosensory Specializations in Mammalslocked

  • Jon H. KaasJon H. KaasDepartment of Psychological Sciences, Vanderbilt University

Summary

Early mammals were small with little neocortex that included a somatosensory system with a mediolateral strip of primary somatosensory cortex and three or four adjoining somatosensory fields. As early mammals radiated out and adapted to local environments, their somatosensory systems adjusted and became specialized in many ways. Most of these specializations were most obvious as disproportionally enlarged representations of important sensory surfaces of the skin in primary somatosensory cortex. These enlarged representations included those of the bill of the duckbilled platypus, the nose of the star-nosed mole, the teeth and tongue of monkeys, the glabrous hand of raccoons, the wing of bats, and the tactile tail of some monkeys. These and other specializations enhanced the ability of these mammals to adapt to their environments and to precisely evaluate relevant sensory events and make appropriate behavioral adjustments.

Subjects

  • Sensory Systems

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