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Neural and Behavioural PlasticityThe Use of the Domestic Chick as a Model$
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R. J. Andrew

Print publication date: 1991

Print ISBN-13: 9780198521846

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198521846.001.0001

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The functional organization of the avian visual system

The functional organization of the avian visual system

Chapter:
(p.92) 3 The functional organization of the avian visual system
Source:
Neural and Behavioural Plasticity
Author(s):

O. Güntürkün

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198521846.003.0004

This chapter presents a brief account of the functional organization of the avian visual system. It provides detail about the retina of pigeons and chicks. Both have a central retinal area of enhanced vision, where ganglion cell densities reach up to forty-one thousand cells per mm2 in the pigeon and twenty-four thousand cells per mm2 in the chick. The colouring arises from the inclusion in the cone receptor cells of brightly coloured oil-droplets, which are differentially distributed throughout the retina. Visual information is transmitted either directly with axodendritic contacts or with interneurons to the cells of layer thirteen, which project to the n. rotundus in the thalamus. Comparing the thalamofugal pathway of chicks, pigeons, and barn owls reveals substantial differences between these three species. Experiments to reveal information about functional differences between the visual pathways of birds are going on.

Keywords:   avian visual system, retinal area, ganglion cells, thalamofugal pathway, visual pathways, functional differences

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