Comparison of brain structure volumes in insectivora and primates. IV. Non-cortical visual structures

J Hirnforsch. 1984;25(4):385-403.


The relative size of the eyes, optic nerves, chiasms and tracts, and of the dorsal nucleus of the lateral geniculate body is distinctly larger in Primates than in (theoretically) isoponderous Insectivora. Within Insectivora, the relative size is lowest in moles, medium in shrews and hedgehog-like tenrecs, and largest in hedgehogs. Within Primates, all relative sizes are on the average larger in simians than in prosimians: the eyes to a small degree, the lateral geniculate bodies moderately and the optic nerves considerably larger. The ratio between eyes and optic nerves is large in night-active primates and distinctly smaller in day-active forms, with no overlap. The only night-active simian (Aotus trivirgatus) is in line with night-active prosimians. The relative size of the non-cortical visual structures in man is in line with that of day-active simians, whereas two of the great apes (orang-utan and gorilla) are relatively low. The size of the visual structures appears to depend mainly on functional requirements and is not, or is distinctly less, related to differences in the evolutionary level. The size of the visual structures of tree-shrews (Scandentia) shows special features which are not found in Insectivora and Primates and is compatible with their separation from these orders.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Cell Count
  • Eulipotyphla / anatomy & histology*
  • Eye / anatomy & histology*
  • Geniculate Bodies / anatomy & histology
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Optic Chiasm / anatomy & histology
  • Optic Nerve / anatomy & histology*
  • Phylogeny
  • Primates / anatomy & histology*
  • Rats
  • Regression Analysis
  • Species Specificity
  • Visual Pathways / anatomy & histology*