Karten

Date: Sat, 25 May 2002 10:36:14 -0400 To: "List for Toru Shimizu" <avi-eaters@lists.cas.usf.edu> From: Erich Jarvis <jarvis@neuro.duke.edu> Subject: An older view of things, message from Harvey

Dear avieaters,

Some additional thoughts on the matter of nomenclature (Harvey's present comments)

I would like to move the discussion onto a somewhat different topic. The essence of evolutionary studies in immunology, hematology, cell biology in general, and only minimally in neurobiology, is based at the level of the cell. Homology at the cellular level is the one instance where we have made significant gains over the last 150 years in biology, including many aspects of neurobiology. The tendency to move the arguments about the avian brain back to the level of ill-defined fields is, in my opinion, regressive. It serves to further impress colleagues in cell biology, and even many in neurobiology, that comparative neurobiology remains in the era of early 19th century biology. It really began to change with the works of Ramon and his brother S.R. y Cajal with their emphasis upon "conservation at the level of individual cell types." Reverting to a focus on Field Homology puts us at one with fossil hunting paleontologists in an era when even modern paleontologists are concerned with genomic lineage and some aspects of cell biology. The most effective way that comparative neurobiologists can demonstrate their relevance to modern neurobiology is not by obsessing about what letters to use when referring to ill defined regions of the brain, but rather by more precise research at the cellular level. The great virtue of comparative neurobiology is that at its most promising level, it provides the prospect of clarifying basic aspects of the organization of the vertebrate brain. We have the potential to lead the modern fields of system and cell biology by focusing on issues that can be solved with a revival of the unique values of comparative and evolutionary neurobiology.

Regards,

Harvey