Encyclopedia of Neuroscience

2009 Edition
| Editors: Marc D. Binder, Nobutaka Hirokawa, Uwe Windhorst

Evolution of Cerebellum

  • William Hodos
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-29678-2_3124


The cerebellum is a major subdivision of the hindbrain that is involved in various sensory-motor functions, especially those involving the vestibular and somatosensory systems, and electroreception in certain ray-finned fishes. It has also been reported to play a role in certain cognitive processes.


The cerebellum is a major feature of the vertebrate hindbrain. It varies widely in its shape and in its size relative to other major brain components such as the cerebrum [ 1, 2]. In shape, it most often is roughly spherical, but it also can be a flattened sphere or even a flat plate. Typically, the cerebellum is smaller than the cerebrum; hence its name, which means “little brain” in Latin. In some fishes, however, such as the Mormyrid fishes, which have an exquisitely developed system of  electroreception, the cerebellum assumes gigantic proportions and can be as large or larger than the rest of the brain [ 3]. This may be seen in Fig. 1 which is a simplified  cladogram...
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • William Hodos
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA