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In vertebrate species it consists of two main parts, the central nervous system (CNS) and the peripheral nervous system (PNS). The PNS consists mainly of nerves, which are enclosed bundles of the long fibers or axons, that connect the CNS to every other part of the body.
Nerves that transmit signals from the brain are called motor or efferent nerves, while those nerves that transmit information from the body to the CNS are called sensory or afferent.
There is an anatomical convention that a cluster of neurons in the brain or spinal cord is called a nucleus, whereas a cluster of neurons in the periphery is called a ganglion.
There are, however, a few exceptions to this rule, notably including the part of the forebrain called the basal ganglia Arthropods, such as insects and crustaceans, have a nervous system made up of a series of ganglia, connected by a ventral nerve cord made up of two parallel connectives running along the length of the belly.
The nervous system is the part of an animal's body that coordinates its actions and transmits signals to and from different parts of its body.
Nervous tissue first arose in wormlike organisms about 550 to 600 million years ago.
It controls the mouthparts, the salivary glands and certain muscles.
The vertebrate nervous system can also be divided into areas called grey matter ("gray matter" in American spelling) and white matter.Both autonomic and enteric nervous systems function involuntarily.Nerves that exit from the cranium are called cranial nerves while those exiting from the spinal cord are called spinal nerves.Grey matter (which is only grey in preserved tissue, and is better described as pink or light brown in living tissue) contains a high proportion of cell bodies of neurons.White matter is composed mainly of myelinated axons, and takes its color from the myelin.
Among the most important functions of glial cells are to support neurons and hold them in place; to supply nutrients to neurons; to insulate neurons electrically; to destroy pathogens and remove dead neurons; and to provide guidance cues directing the axons of neurons to their targets.