Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Hypothalamus

Evolutionarily ancient structure in the forebrain that lies below the thalamus, where it provides a connection between the nervous system and the endocrine system. It functions as an autonomic center and regulates the pituitary gland, a part of the limbic system. The hypothalamus regulates cardiovascular activity, body temperature, water and electrolyte balance, hunger and control of gastrointestinal activity, sleeping and wakefulness, sexual response, emotions, and control of endocrine functions.

See diencephalon.

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