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The developmental anatomy of the dorsal hindbrain in an elasmobranch fish, Leucoraja erinacea, is described. We focus on the cerebellum, which is a synapomorphy for gnathostomes. Cerebellar development in L. erinacea, a representative of the most basal gnathostome lineage, may be a proxy for the ancestral state of cerebellar development. We also focus on sensory processing regions termed 'cerebellum-like' structures due to common anatomical and physiological features with the cerebellum. These structures may be considered generatively homologous if they share common developmental features. To test this hypothesis, the morphological development of the cerebellum and cerebellum-like structures must first be described. Of particular importance is the development of common features, such as the molecular layer, which is the defining characteristic of these structures. The molecular layers of the cerebellum and cerebellum-like structures are supplied with parallel fiber axons from distinct granule cell populations. These are the lateral granule mass, the dorsal granular ridge, the medial granule mass, and the granular eminences of the cerebellum. Cerebellar and cerebellar-like development in L. erinacea is similar to development in other elasmobranchs. The temporal order in which these granule cell populations develop suggests an evolutionary history of duplication or expansion of an existing developmental event.
Suriano, C. M., & Bodznick, D. (2018). Morphological development of the dorsal hindbrain in an elasmobranch fish (Leucoraja erinacea). Zoological Letters, 4(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40851-018-0111-1