Why do some neurons cross the midline earlier than others?

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Xueying Hu

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Xueying Hu  asked the Naked Scientists:
Dear Dr. Chris (and the rest of the Naked Scientists)
I love listening to the Naked Scientists, and I always learn so many new and interesting things to share with my friends!
I'm learning about the nervous system in class, and so we learn about the systems in the body as they go to cortex. We learn that some decussate (cross the midline), while others don't.

I understand why it is necessary for half of the visual ganglion to decussate via the optic chiasm, but the motor system makes less sense. Why do some tracks cross the midline earlier than others, and why do they have to cross at all?
Thanks, and keep up the great work!

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 06/05/2010 11:30:02 by _system »