The vesicular zinc-rich synaptic systems of the principal neurons of the hippocampus are well developed in newborn guinea pigs, a precocial species. In addition, alvear and fimbrial myelinated fibers as well as significant inhibitory interneurons (i.e. somatostatin, parvalbumin and opioid immunoreactive hippocampal interneurons) are also well developed. On the contrary, neither vesicular zinc synapses nor myelinated fibers nor the above mentioned immunoreactive interneurons are detectable in newborn specimens of other related altricial species such as rats or rabbits. These data suggest that early maturation of a highly integrative center related to cognitive map building such as the hippocampus is characteristic of precocial species.
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