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Evolutionary Origins for Social Vocalization in a Vertebrate Hindbrain–Spinal Compartment

Science  18 Jul 2008:
Vol. 321, Issue 5887, pp. 417-421
DOI: 10.1126/science.1157632

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Abstract

The macroevolutionary events leading to neural innovations for social communication, such as vocalization, are essentially unexplored. Many fish vocalize during female courtship and territorial defense, as do amphibians, birds, and mammals. Here, we map the neural circuitry for vocalization in larval fish and show that the vocal network develops in a segment-like region across the most caudal hindbrain and rostral spinal cord. Taxonomic analysis demonstrates a highly conserved pattern between fish and all major lineages of vocal tetrapods. We propose that the vocal basis for acoustic communication among vertebrates evolved from an ancestrally shared developmental compartment already present in the early fishes.

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