Dolphin sleep

Roger DuBois roger at
Mon Aug 8 12:02:13 EST 1994

In article <CtypFv.ILJ at murdoch.acc.Virginia.EDU> asa3h at (Adam Stephen Arthur) writes:
>From: asa3h at (Adam Stephen Arthur)
>Subject: Re: Dolphin sleep
>Date: Wed, 3 Aug 1994 13:57:31 GMT

>I think its fabulous that one idiotic post here has turned into
>some truly intriguing info/speculation.  While I am not
>completely certain of all the implications of "unihemisphereic
>sleep" I find it fascinating.


It was meant to be provocative (and light hearted).  We are at least now 
talking about dolphins instead of trying to talk to them.  

I am very concerned about mechanisms of sensory encoding and in particular, 
how completelydifferent sensory modalities are processed by neural cortex 
which is essentially homogenous.  

Consider, for example, how different are the processes of phototransduction, 
somatosensory perception, acoustic and sonar detection.  While all of these 
modalities have common elements (frequency, phase etc) the apparently enormous 
differences are not manifest in the cortical anatomy.  

Without knowledge of cerebral localization it is not easy (possible) to 
describe by purely anatomical/histological to which modality a particular 
piece of cortex belongs.  There are always exceptions to this, of course, such
as the whisker-to-barrel projection in the mouse and several other mammals 
including the kangaroos and wallabies.  To emphasize this point a little 
further one can cause visual pathways to grow into different (eg auditory) 
cortical regions and still obtain what appear to be normal visual responses.

Roger DuBois
Institut d'Anatomie
Faculte de Medicine


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