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Sensory Evolution on the Threshold – Adaptations in Secondarily Aquatic Vertebrates - California Scholarship Online
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Sensory Evolution on the Threshold: Adaptations in Secondarily Aquatic Vertebrates

J. G. M. Thewissen


From crocodiles and penguins to seals and whales, this synthesis explores the function and evolution of sensory systems in animals whose ancestors lived on land. Together, the chapters explore the dramatic transformation of smell, taste, sight, hearing, balance, mechanoreception, magnetoreception, and electroreception that occurred as lineages of amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals returned to aquatic environments. Each chapter integrates data from fields including sensory physiology, anatomy, paleontology, and neurobiology. A one-stop source for information on the sense organs of seconda ... More

Keywords: sensory evolution, aquatic vertebrates, sensory biology, sensory physiology, anatomy, paleontology, neurobiology, mechanoreception, magnetoreception, electoreception

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2008 Print ISBN-13: 9780520252783
Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012 DOI:10.1525/california/9780520252783.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

J. G. M. Thewissen, editor

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Front Matter

1 Introduction

J. G. M. Thewissen, and Sirpa Nummela

Chemical Senses

3 The Chemical Stimulus and Its Detection

Heather L. Eisthen, and Kurt Schwenk



11 The Physics of Sound in Air and Water

Sirpa Nummela, and J. G. M. Thewissen


14 The Physics and Physiology of Balance

Justin S. Sipla, and Fred Spoor


17 The Physics and Physiology of Mechanoreception

Guido Dehnhardt, and Björn Mauck

18 Mechanoreception in Secondarily Aquatic Vertebrates

Guido Dehnhardt, and Björn Mauck

Magnetoreception and Electroreception

19 Magnetoreception

Michael H. Hofmann, and Lon A. Wilkens

20 Electroreception

Lon A. Wilkens, and Michael H. Hofmann

21 Toward an Integrative Approach

J. G. M. Thewissen, and Sirpa Nummela

End Matter