The Development of the Primate Pulvinar

  • Marilee P. Ogren


When the nervous systems of different species are compared, homologous structures can nonetheless exhibit differences that are related to their evolutionary histories. For example, there are dramatic differences in the morphology of the rabbit and monkey retinae that correspond to the requirements of their different environments, yet there is little doubt that they are homologous. The retina of the rabbit contains a horizontally oriented stripe of densely packed ganglion cells and high visual acuity that monitors the horizon for the essentially stationary, laterally placed eyes. The retina of the monkey contains a fovea that is a small centrally located area of much higher ganglion cell density and visual acuity, that can be directed via eye movements to scan the environment and to fixate binocularly. In some ways the ontogenetic development of the brain seems also to reflect its phylogenetic history. For instance, at early gestational ages the brains of widely divergent species are virtually indistinguishable, as if they pass through developmental stages that reflect vestiges of their common ancestors.1 In this communication, a comparison is made between the prenatal development of the pulvinar nucleus in the rhesus monkey (Macaca mulatto) and the human in an attempt to provide insight into its phylogenetic development.


Rhesus Monkey Superior Colliculus Thalamic Nucleus Ganglionic Eminence Dorsal Thalamus 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marilee P. Ogren
    • 1
  1. 1.Section of NeuroanatomyYale University School of MedicineNew HavenUSA

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