Neural reuse in the evolution and development of the brain: Evidence for developmental homology?
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This article lays out some of the empirical evidence for the importance of neural reuse—the reuse of existing (inherited and/or early developing) neural circuitry for multiple behavioral purposes—in defining the overall functional structure of the brain. We then discuss in some detail one particular instance of such reuse: the involvement of a local neural circuit in finger awareness, number representation, and other diverse functions. Finally, we consider whether and how the notion of a developmental homology can help us understand the relationships between the cognitive functions that develop out of shared neural supports.