A bunch of stuff in the human nervous system decussates. Optical information inputs from the eyes cross over in the optical chiasm. Multiple sensory and motor pathways cross-over before ascending the spinal chord or within the brain stem.

What's the current hypotheses being explored for justifying this anatomical phenomena?


1 Answer 1


I don't think it is a clever thing to group all types of decussation and look for a general explanations. I would tend to think that different decussation have different explanations. It is like asking what are the hypothesis to explain evolution of body size. There is no general answer to that but only a list of case specific impact of different factors on body size (see this post). Consider the two case-studies 1) "why does left brain controls the right part of the body" and 2) "Torsion in gastropoda" as examples of how different explanation applies to different decussation.

why does left brain controls the right part of the body?

See @shigeta's answer to this post. It is very interesting.

Torsion in Gastropoda

Torsion in Gastropoda is an interesting case. In this lineage individuals undergo some torsion during their development. This wikipedia articles say:

Snails are distinguished by an anatomical process known as torsion, where the visceral mass of the animal rotates 180° to one side during development, such that the anus is situated more or less above the head. This process is unrelated to the coiling of the shell, which is a separate phenomenon. Torsion is present in all gastropods, but the opisthobranch gastropods are secondarily detorted to various degrees.[13][14]

Torsion occurs in two mechanistic stages. The first is muscular and the second is mutagenetic. The effects of torsion are primarily physiological - the organism develops an asymmetrical nature with the majority of growth occurring on the left side. This leads to the loss of right-paired appendages (e.g., ctenidia (comb-like respiratory apparatus), gonads, nephridia, etc.). Furthermore, the anus becomes redirected to the same space as the head. This is speculated to have some evolutionary function, as prior to torsion, when retracting into the shell, first the posterior end would get pulled in, and then the anterior. Now, the front can be retracted more easily, perhaps suggesting a defensive purpose.

However, this "rotation hypothesis" is being challenged by the "asymmetry hypothesis" in which the gastropod mantle cavity originated from one side only of a bilateral set of mantle cavities.[15]

Gastropods typically have a well-defined head with two or four sensory tentacles with eyes, and a ventral foot, which gives them their name (Greek gaster, stomach, and poda, feet). The foremost division of the foot is called the propodium. Its function is to push away sediment as the snail crawls. The larval shell of a gastropod is called a protoconch.

You can find more information there


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