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By Charles G. Gross

Neuroscientist Charles Gross has been attracted to the heritage of his box given that his days as an undergraduate. A gap within the Head is the second one selection of essays during which he illuminates the examine of the mind with attention-grabbing episodes from the previous. This volume's stories variety from the historical past of trepanation (drilling a gap within the cranium) to neurosurgery as painted by way of Hieronymus Bosch to the invention that bats navigate utilizing echolocation.

The emphasis is on blind alleys and blunders in addition to triumphs and discoveries, with old practices hooked up to contemporary advancements and controversies. Gross first reaches again into the beginnings of neuroscience, then takes up the interplay of paintings and neuroscience, exploring, between different issues, Rembrandt's "Anatomy Lesson" work, and eventually, examines discoveries by means of scientists whose paintings was once scorned of their personal time yet confirmed right in later eras.

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Extra info for A Hole in the Head: More Tales in the History of Neuroscience

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Theraps ids persisted until well into the Triassic, at which time the "ruling reptiles" became dominant and the mammallike reptiles waned rapidly. Most of the groups of therapsids developed features that we now associate with mammals and many of these arose in parallel in diverging stocks. Some key innovation appears to be back of this extensive parallelism, and it has been suggested that incipient endothermy associated with increased activity and more efficient food procurement and preparation played this role.

Two general hypotheses have been advanced in explanation of the origins of the Archosauria. One places the origin among semiaquatic reptiles; the other seeks it among strictly terrestrial forebears. Both attempt to explain the predominantly bipedal tendencies within most lines of the archosaurs on the basis of the presumed early environment. The earliest representatives, from the latest Permian and earliest Triassic, have come from lowland deposits, supporting the first hypothesis. But, of course, these are the only sorts of deposits which have yielded any vertebrate fossils for this time.

Certainly the pterosaurs flew and it seems that they must have been endotherms, but just how did they fly, with their large wings and their very light bodies, giving very low wing loading? Were they strictly gliders and, if so, how did they initiate flight? Most of the age-old solutions to these questions have been undergoing reexamination and so far have resulted in few definitive answers. Of all the puzzles which surround the archosaurs, none is more fascinating than what appear to be mass extinctions at the end of the Cretaceous Period.

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