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February 24, 1900


JAMA. 1900;XXXIV(8):498-499. doi:10.1001/jama.1900.02460080050006

Nothing illustrates the marvelous advances in neurology more than some recent studies on the nature and development of the cranial nerves. Heretofore anatomy and physiology have been content to assign to these nerves certain arbitrary numbers, and to give up all hope of ever accounting for their peculiar courses and complex constituents. So long as the nerve trunks alone were studied, our knowledge remained at a standstill. When they were examined from the standpoint of the embryologists and evolutionists, a flood of light began to pour in and to illuminate their intricate nature. It was then discovered that a true knowledge of the evolution of the cranial nerves was only to be found in a minute examination, embryologically and phylogenetically, of their peripheral and central terminations. Only from the closest observation of the changes wrought in their nuclei by the processes of adaptation and natural selection, and the comparing of