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1.  Avian Visual Behavior and the Organization of the Telencephalon 
Brain, Behavior and Evolution  2010;75(3):204-217.
Birds have excellent visual abilities that are comparable or superior to those of primates, but how the bird brain solves complex visual problems is poorly understood. More specifically, we lack knowledge about how such superb abilities are used in nature and how the brain, especially the telencephalon, is organized to process visual information. Here we review the results of several studies that examine the organization of the avian telencephalon and the relevance of visual abilities to avian social and reproductive behavior. Video playback and photographic stimuli show that birds can detect and evaluate subtle differences in local facial features of potential mates in a fashion similar to that of primates. These techniques have also revealed that birds do not attend well to global configural changes in the face, suggesting a fundamental difference between birds and primates in face perception. The telencephalon plays a major role in the visual and visuo-cognitive abilities of birds and primates, and anatomical data suggest that these animals may share similar organizational characteristics in the visual telencephalon. As is true in the primate cerebral cortex, different visual features are processed separately in the avian telencephalon where separate channels are organized in the anterior-posterior axis roughly parallel to the major laminae. Furthermore, the efferent projections from the primary visual telencephalon form an extensive column-like continuum involving the dorsolateral pallium and the lateral basal ganglia. Such a column-like organization may exist not only for vision, but for other sensory modalities and even for a continuum that links sensory and limbic areas of the avian brain. Behavioral and neural studies must be integrated in order to understand how birds have developed their amazing visual systems through 150 million years of evolution.
PMCID: PMC2977968  PMID: 20733296
Birds; Columnar organization; Courtship; Parallel processing; Pigeons
2.  The Avian Brain Nomenclature Forum: Terminology for a New Century in Comparative Neuroanatomy 
Many of the assumptions of homology on which the standard nomenclature for the cell groups and fiber tracts of avian brains have been based are in error, and as a result that terminology promotes misunderstanding of the functional organization of avian brains and their evolutionary relationship to mammalian brains. Recognizing this problem, a number of avian brain researchers began an effort to revise the terminology, which culminated in the Avian Brain Nomenclature Forum, held at Duke University from July 18 to 20, 2002. In the new terminology approved at this Forum, the flawed conception that the telencephalon of birds consists nearly entirely of a hypertrophied basal ganglia has been purged from the telencephalic terminology, and the actual parts of the basal ganglia and its brainstem afferent cell groups have been given names reflecting their now evident homologies. The telencephalic regions that were erroneously named to reflect presumed homology to mammalian basal ganglia were renamed as parts of the pallium, using prefixes that retained most established abbreviations (to maintain continuity with the replaced nomenclature). Details of this meeting and its major conclusions are presented in this paper, and the details of the new terminology and its basis are presented in a longer companion paper. We urge all to use this new terminology, because we believe it will promote better communication among neuroscientists.
PMCID: PMC2713747  PMID: 19626136
pallium; basal ganglia; telencephalon; brainstem; evolution; terminology; birds; mammals
3.  Revised Nomenclature for Avian Telencephalon and Some Related Brainstem Nuclei 
The standard nomenclature that has been used for many telencephalic and related brainstem structures in birds is based on flawed assumptions of homology to mammals. In particular, the outdated terminology implies that most of the avian telencephalon is a hypertrophied basal ganglia, when it is now clear that most of the avian telencephalon is neurochemically, hodologically, and functionally comparable to the mammalian neocortex, claustrum, and pallial amygdala (all of which derive from the pallial sector of the developing telencephalon). Recognizing that this promotes misunderstanding of the functional organization of avian brains and their evolutionary relationship to mammalian brains, avian brain specialists began discussions to rectify this problem, culminating in the Avian Brain Nomenclature Forum held at Duke University in July 2002, which approved a new terminology for avian telencephalon and some allied brainstem cell groups. Details of this new terminology are presented here, as is a rationale for each name change and evidence for any homologies implied by the new names.
Revisions for the brainstem focused on vocal control, catecholaminergic, cholinergic, and basal ganglia-related nuclei. For example, the Forum recognized that the hypoglossal nucleus had been incorrectly identified as the nucleus intermedius in the Karten and Hodos (1967) pigeon brain atlas, and what was identified as the hypoglossal nucleus in that atlas should instead be called the supraspinal nucleus. The locus ceruleus of this and other avian atlases was noted to consist of a caudal noradrenergic part homologous to the mammalian locus coeruleus and a rostral region corresponding to the mammalian A8 dopaminergic cell group. The midbrain dopaminergic cell group in birds known as the nucleus tegmenti pedunculopontinus pars compacta was recognized as homologous to the mammalian substantia nigra pars compacta and was renamed accordingly; a group of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA)ergic neurons at the lateral edge of this region was identified as homologous to the mammalian substantia nigra pars reticulata and was also renamed accordingly. A field of cholinergic neurons in the rostral avian hindbrain was named the nucleus pedunculopontinus tegmenti, whereas the anterior nucleus of the ansa lenticularis in the avian diencephalon was renamed the subthalamic nucleus, both for their evident mammalian homologues.
For the basal (i.e., subpallial) telencephalon, the actual parts of the basal ganglia were given names reflecting their now evident homologues. For example, the lobus parolfactorius and paleostriatum augmentatum were acknowledged to make up the dorsal subdivision of the striatal part of the basal ganglia and were renamed as the medial and lateral striatum. The paleostriatum primitivum was recognized as homologous to the mammalian globus pallidus and renamed as such. Additionally, the rostroventral part of what was called the lobus parolfactorius was acknowledged as comparable to the mammalian nucleus accumbens, which, together with the olfactory tubercle, was noted to be part of the ventral striatum in birds. A ventral pallidum, a basal cholinergic cell group, and medial and lateral bed nuclei of the stria terminalis were also recognized.
The dorsal (i.e., pallial) telencephalic regions that had been erroneously named to reflect presumed homology to striatal parts of mammalian basal ganglia were renamed as part of the pallium, using prefixes that retain most established abbreviations, to maintain continuity with the outdated nomenclature. We concluded, however, that one-to-one (i.e., discrete) homologies with mammals are still uncertain for most of the telencephalic pallium in birds and thus the new pallial terminology is largely devoid of assumptions of one-to-one homologies with mammals. The sectors of the hyperstriatum composing the Wulst (i.e., the hyperstriatum accessorium intermedium, and dorsale), the hyperstriatum ventrale, the neostriatum, and the archistriatum have been renamed (respectively) the hyperpallium (hypertrophied pallium), the mesopallium (middle pallium), the nidopallium (nest pallium), and the arcopallium (arched pallium). The posterior part of the archistriatum has been renamed the posterior pallial amygdala, the nucleus taeniae recognized as part of the avian amygdala, and a region inferior to the posterior paleostriatum primitivum included as a subpallial part of the avian amygdala. The names of some of the laminae and fiber tracts were also changed to reflect current understanding of the location of pallial and subpallial sectors of the avian telencephalon. Notably, the lamina medularis dorsalis has been renamed the pallial-subpallial lamina. We urge all to use this new terminology, because we believe it will promote better communication among neuroscientists.
PMCID: PMC2518311  PMID: 15116397
pallium; basal ganglia; telencephalon; brainstem; evolution; terminology; birds; mammals

Results 1-3 (3)