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Brain Behav Evol. 2013;81(2):93-108. doi: 10.1159/000346495. Epub 2013 Mar 6.

Lamination of the lateral geniculate nucleus of catarrhine primates.

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  • 1Department of Life Sciences, University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal.


The lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) of catarrhine primates - with the exception of gibbons - is typically described as a 6-layered structure, comprised of 2 ventral magnocellular layers, and 4 dorsal parvocellular layers. The parvocellular layers of the LGN are involved in color vision. Therefore, it is hypothesized that a 6-layered LGN is a shared-derived trait among catarrhines. This might suggest that in gibbons the lack of further subdivisions of the parvocellular layers is a recent change, and could be related to specializations of visual information processing in this taxon. To address these hypotheses, the lamination of the LGN was investigated in a range of catarrhine species, including several taxa not previously described, and the evolution of the LGN was reconstructed using phylogenetic information. The findings indicate that while all catarrhine species have 4 parvocellular leaflets, two main patterns of LGN parvocellular lamination occur: 2 undivided parvocellular layers in some species, and 4 parvocellular leaflets (with occasional subleaflets) in other species. LGN size was not found to be related to lamination pattern. Both patterns were found to occur in divergent clades, which is suggestive of homoplasy within the catarrhines in LGN morphology.

Copyright © 2013 S. Karger AG, Basel.

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