Articles

Neural organization and evolution of thermal regulation in mammals

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Science  07 Jul 1978:
Vol. 201, Issue 4350, pp. 16-22
DOI: 10.1126/science.351802

Abstract

This article proposes a modification of the currently accepted view of the central neural integration of body temperature. In place of a single integrator with multiple inputs and outputs, the new model includes as many integrators as there are thermoregulatory responses. Futhermore, these integrators are postulated to be represented at many levels of the nervous system, with each level facilitated or inhibited by levels above and below. The purpose of such a complicated arrangement is to achieve finer and finer control over body temperature. A consideration of how endothermy might have evolved, with originally nonthermally related responses gradually coming under thermal control, makes such a brain organization highly reasonable.

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