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J Neurobiol. 2002 Nov 5;53(2):202-11.

Evolution of structure and function of the hearing organ of lizards.

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Lehrstuhl für Zoologie, Technische Universität München, Lichtenbergstrasse 4, 85747 Garching, Germany.


Following their origin during the early Cretaceous, the lizards radiated early into a number of families. This radiation was accompanied by a diversification in the structure of the inner ear. The morphology of the auditory basilar papilla is family-specific, with large variations in a number of parameters. At the physiologic level, this wide variation does not result in an equivalent range of physiologic parameters. This review considers the possible influence of various morphologic features on function, and correlates these features with physiologic response parameters. Anatomical variety that does not result in significant changes in the inputs to the brain is "neutral" with regard to selection pressures. This independence apparently removed evolutionary constraints and led to some of the great variety of auditory papillae seen. Other anatomical features are more important and do produce significant effects at the level of the auditory nerve.

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