The magnificent compromise: cortical field evolution in mammals

Neuron. 2007 Oct 25;56(2):201-8. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2007.10.002.


The neocortex of mammals is composed of cortical fields that have a unique organization associated with the animal's ecological niche and lifestyle. Each cortical field has a specific pattern of connections with other cortical fields and brain structures, and together they comprise a neocortical network that generates a variety of behaviors. These networks and the behaviors they generate are variable across mammals, and are particularly complex in some species such as humans. Here I discuss the mechanisms that contribute to neocortical organization in mammals, and how this organization has been altered to generate the variability that exists in different lineages.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Humans
  • Mammals / anatomy & histology
  • Mammals / physiology
  • Neocortex / anatomy & histology*
  • Neocortex / physiology*