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Alligator Trigeminal Nerve and Brain 3D Model
This model depicts the brain and trigeminal nerves of the American Alligator segmented from Iodine-contrast microCT data. The right side derives from 85micron data; the left from 23micron data. We are exploring how to accurately trace the finest nerve branches. The Trigeminal Nerve gives alligators an incredible sense of face touch. Branches of this nerve connect to small dome pressure receptors (DPRs) on the scales, visible as small black dots. In alligators and other vertebrates, there are three main divisions of the trigeminal nerve: Ophthalmic division supplies the middle nasal and premaxillary regions Maxillary division supplies the maxilla and lateral face. Mandibular division supplies the lower jaw and tongue. Alligators and crocodiles use DPRs to locate objects and differentiate between food and non-food items. While crocodiles have DPRs all over their body, alligators only have them around the mouth. Findings show this extra-sensitive face evolved within the modern group of crocodilians.
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