By: RG Northcutt and WE Bemis
76 pages, 22 illus, 2 tabs.
Although the living coelacanth, Latimeria chalumnae, has fascinated vertebrate biologists for more than 50 years, there is still much to learn about its basic biology. This unique study provides a detailed account of the cranial nerves of a serially sectioned prenatal pup of Latimeria and includes the first complete color reconstructions of the cranial nerves of coelacanths. It also represents the attempt to use characters of the cranial nerves for broad-scale phylogenetic comparisons among vertebrates. Thirty-eight characters of the cranial nerves are described and compared across a diversity of vertebrates, including hagfish, lampreys, chondrichthyans, actinopterygians, lungfishes, and salamanders. Several of the more phylogenetically interesting characters demonstrate the promise of this character systems for future phylogenetic research. This well-illustrated publication will provide anatomists, zoologists (particularly ichthylogists and herpetologists), neuroanatomists, and systematic biologists with a wealth of new information.
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