Comparative neuroscience holds promise for quiet revolutions

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Science  03 Aug 1984:
Vol. 225, Issue 4661, pp. 473-478
DOI: 10.1126/science.6740319


The brain has diversified and advanced in evolution more than any other organ; the variety of nervous systems and behaviors among animal species is thus available for our exploitation. Comparative neuroscience is likely to reach insights so novel as to constitute revolutions in understanding the structure, functions, ontogeny, and evolution of nervous systems. This promise requires pursuit on a wide front, in respect to disciplines and in respect to the species, stages, and states compared. It also requires deliberate concentration on the differences among animals, in addition to the prevailing concern for the basic and common. Neglect of these challenges would be costly. Without due consideration of the neural and behavioral correlates of differences between higher taxa and between closely related families, species, sexes, and stages, we cannot expect to understand our nervous systems or ourselves.

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