A conserved pattern of differential expansion of cortical areas in simian primates

Tristan Chaplin, Hsin-Hao Yu, Juliana GM Soares, Ricardo Gattass, Marcello Goncalves Rosa

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139 Citations (Scopus)


The layout of areas in the cerebral cortex of different primates is quite similar, despite significant variations in brain size. However, it is clear that larger brains are not simply scaled up versions of smaller brains: some regions of the cortex are disproportionately large in larger species. It is currently debated whether these expanded areas arise through natural selection pressures for increased cognitive capacity or as a result of the application of a common developmental sequence on different scales. Here, we used computational methods to map and quantify the expansion of the cortex in simian primates of different sizes to investigate whether there is any common pattern of cortical expansion. Surface models of the marmoset, capuchin, and macaque monkey cortex were registered using the software package CARET and the spherical landmark vector difference algorithm. The registration was constrained by the location of identified homologous cortical areas. When comparing marmosets with both capuchins and macaques, we found a high degree of expansion in the temporal parietal junction, the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, and the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, all of which are high-level association areas typically involved in complex cognitive and behavioral functions. These expanded maps correlated well with previously published macaque to human registrations, suggesting that there is a general pattern of primate cortical scaling.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15120 - 15125
Number of pages6
JournalThe Journal of Neuroscience
Issue number38
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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