Exuberance in the development of cortical networks

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2005 Dec;6(12):955-65. doi: 10.1038/nrn1790.


The cerebral cortex is the largest and most intricately connected part of the mammalian brain. Its size and complexity has increased during the course of evolution, allowing improvements in old functions and causing the emergence of new ones, such as language. This has expanded the behavioural and cognitive repertoire of different species and has determined their competitive success. To allow the relatively rapid emergence of large evolutionary changes in a structure of such importance and complexity, the mechanisms by which cortical circuitry develops must be flexible and yet robust against changes that could disrupt the normal functions of the networks.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution
  • Cerebral Cortex / anatomy & histology
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Nerve Net / anatomy & histology
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Neural Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Neural Pathways / physiology*