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The cranial nerves of Petromyzonidae.


The cranial nerves of Petromyzonidae.



Zeitschr Ges Anat Abt I Zeitschr Anat U Entwicklungsgesch 89(1/2): 201-249



The ganglia of the 5th, 9th and 10th cranial nerves lie outside the cranial skeleton, that of the 7th is included in the auditory capsule, forming a part of the acustico-facial ganglion. All of these, unlike the spinal nerves, are mixed nerves. N. III passes through its own foramen to Mm. rectus superior, rectus anterior and obliquus anterior. N. IV supplies M. obliquus posterior and N. VI, Mm. rectus posterior and rectus inferior. N. IV, N. V, and N. VI together penetrate the pro-otic foramen. N. V and N. VII leave the cranial cavity separately. The hypotic ganglion, lying near the facial, apparently belongs to the lateral nerve system. No ciliary ganglion was found. The vagus group comprises only the glossopharyngeal and vagus, an accessorius is lacking. These issue through the metotic foramen between the skull and the first vertebra together with the caudal portion of the later-alis system which branches off here. The vagus is limited to the gill region. The 3 anterior spinal nerves[long dash]spino-occipital nerves[long dash]extend anteriorly to the gill slits, not joining the vagus. The motor roots of the first 2 spino-occipitals, uniting, supply the anterior dorsal and ventral trunk muscles. Ventral and dorsal spinal nerve roots 4-14 connect through their ventral branches with the vagus, perhaps only temporarily, forming later the cervical plexus. The system of the lateral nerve is formed anteriorly by the hypotic ganglion and the an-astomotic branch to the maxillo-mandibularis, as well as from the so-called recurrens and the ramus buccalis. Posteriorly it is a single nerve, its usual 2nd trunk probably embodied in the vagus and branching to the lateral organ through the spinal nerves 4-14. Dorsal and ventral portions of the spinal nerves remain separate. The course of the cervical plexus indicates a posterior migration of the gill apparatus while the trunk musculature has moved anteriorly as is true of the hypobranchial muscles of higher vertebrates. The lack of limbs favors this translocation. The hypobranchial musculature is supplied partly by the spino-occipital nerves and partly by the cervical plexus. That the Petromyzonidae are degenerate forms lacks proof in view of the high development of their sense organs and the rich specialization of of their head muscles. Neither can they be called primitive as their well developed organ systems indicate a long phylogenetic history. Their sharp separation from all remaining vertebrates justifies the use of the systematic groups, Cyclostomata and Gnathostomata.

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