Role of Architectonics and Connections in the Study of Primate Brain Evolution
In the study of primate brain evolution a variety of gross anatomical features is customarily examined to trace changes in the brain among the different species. Thus, brain size and shape are measured, and aspects of cortical folding into lobes and gyri are carefully noted. Analyses of this type are particularly useful, if not altogether necessary, in the study of extinct brains by means of cranial endocasts. Such studies are remarkably limited, however, in their ability to provide information about interspecies homology. In smoother (lissencephalic) brains, for instance, this limitation is obvious. But even endocasts showing surface features of cortical folding can be an insurmountable challenge to statements of homology. On the one hand, the shape, depth and height of the folds varies considerably within a given species; on the other hand, different species often have similar surface topography. Furthermore, information is still insufficient concerning the functional meaning of shifts in surface markings, and even of gyri and sulci present in one species but not in others. Finally, the possibility exists that gyri having the same shape and occupying the same location in two species do, in fact, subserve different functions by nature of their different architecture and connectivity.
KeywordsSuperior Temporal Gyrus Inferior Parietal Lobule Middle Temporal Gyrus Superior Temporal Sulcus Sylvian Fissure
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