Myelo- and cytoarchitecture of the granular frontal cortex and surrounding regions in the strepsirhine primate Galago and the anthropoid primate Macaca

J Comp Neurol. 1991 Aug 22;310(4):429-74. doi: 10.1002/cne.903100402.


As the first part of a comparative investigation of primate frontal cortex, we compared the frontal architectonic organization of Galago, a small-brained, strepsirhine (or "prosimian") primate, to that of an anthropoid primate, Macaca, by using myelin- and Nissl-stained material. We were able to distinguish many more areas in both taxa than have been recognized in most previous studies of the primate frontal lobe. In particular, we were able to subdivide many of the areas shown in the commonly cited architectonic map of Walker (J. Comp. Neurol. 73:59-86, 1940). Delineation of areas was greatly facilitated by the use of the Gallyas technique for staining myelin. The areal organization of much of frontal cortex (specifically, the premotor, orbital, and medial regions) appears to be very similar in Galago and Macaca. In these regions, we were able to recognize the same complement of areas in both taxa, with few exceptions. In the granular frontal cortex (GFC), by contrast, we were able to distinguish about twice as many areas in Macaca as in Galago. For most of the GFC areas of Galago, there are architectonically similar areas in Macaca; the areas shared by both taxa correspond mainly to the arcuate and superior areas of Macaca (i.e., the region encompassed by Walker's areas 45, 8A, and 8B). However, there are many additional, more rostral, areas in Macaca for which there are no obvious homologues in Galago. In particular, Galago lacks cortex resembling the distinctive, lightly myelinated cortex of the Macaca principal sulcus (Walker's area 46 and its subdivisions). Our results are difficult to reconcile with the view that frontal lobe organization varies little across taxa. Rather, they suggest that granular frontal cortex underwent considerable change during primate evolution, including the addition of new areas in anthropoids.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Cerebral Cortex / anatomy & histology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / cytology
  • Galago / anatomy & histology*
  • Humans
  • Macaca / anatomy & histology*
  • Myelin Sheath / ultrastructure
  • Species Specificity