Topic: Animal anatomy
The enteric nervous system (ENS) or intrinsic nervous system is one of the main divisions of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) and consists of a mesh-like system of neurons that governs the function of the gastrointestinal tract. It is capable of acting independently of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, although it may be influenced by them. The ENS is also called the second brain.It is derived from neural crest cells.
The enteric nervous system is capable of operating independently of the brain and spinal cord, but does rely on innervation from the autonomic nervous system via the vagus nerve and prevertebral ganglia in healthy subjects. However, studies have shown that the system is operable with a severed vagus nerve. The neurons of the enteric nervous system control the motor functions of the system, in addition to the secretion of gastrointestinal enzymes. These neurons communicate through many neurotransmitters similar to the CNS, including acetylcholine, dopamine, and serotonin. The large presence of serotonin and dopamine in the gut are key areas of research for neurogastroenterologists.
- "Enteric nervous system" | 2017-12-02 | 18 Upvotes 6 Comments
The following are two lists of animals ordered by the size of their nervous system. The first list shows number of neurons in their entire nervous system, indicating their overall neural complexity. The second list shows the number of neurons in the structure that has been found to be representative of animal intelligence. The human brain contains 86 billion neurons, with 16 billion neurons in the cerebral cortex.
- "List of Animals by Number of Neurons" | 2020-05-25 | 12 Upvotes 1 Comments
A thagomizer () is the distinctive arrangement of four spikes on the tails of stegosaurine dinosaurs. These spikes are believed to have been a defensive measure against predators.
The arrangement of spikes originally had no distinct name; cartoonist Gary Larson invented the name "thagomizer" in 1982 as a joke in his comic strip The Far Side, and it was gradually adopted as an informal term used within scientific circles, research, and education.
The (pan)arthropod head problem is a long-standing zoological dispute concerning the segmental composition of the heads of the various arthropod groups, and how they are evolutionarily related to each other. While the dispute has historically centered on the exact make-up of the insect head, it has been widened to include other living arthropods such as chelicerates, myriapods, crustaceans; and fossil forms, such as the many arthropods known from exceptionally preserved Cambrian faunas. While the topic has classically been based on insect embryology, in recent years a great deal of developmental molecular data has become available. Dozens of more or less distinct solutions to the problem, dating back to at least 1897, have been published, including several in the 2000s.
The arthropod head problem is popularly known as the endless dispute, the title of a famous paper on the subject by Jacob G. Rempel in 1975, referring to its seemingly intractable nature. Although some progress has been made since that time, the precise nature of especially the labrum and the pre-oral region of arthropods remain highly controversial.
- "Arthropod Head Problem" | 2023-05-13 | 60 Upvotes 22 Comments
Spicules are structural elements found in most sponges. The meshing of many spicules serves as the sponge's skeleton and thus it provides structural support and potentially defense against predators.
Sponge spicules are made of calcium carbonate or silica. Large spicules visible to the naked eye are referred to as megascleres, while smaller, microscopic ones are termed microscleres. The composition, size, and shape of spicules are major characters in sponge systematics and taxonomy.
- "Sponge spicule" | 2023-06-18 | 46 Upvotes 8 Comments