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Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2005 Apr;15(2):168-74.

The primate hippocampus: ontogeny, early insult and memory.

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Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University, 954 Gatewood Rd, Atlanta, GA, USA.


Recent evidence suggests that in primates, as in rodents, the hippocampus shows a developmental continuum that affects memory abilities from infancy to adulthood. In primates relatively few hippocampal-dependent abilities (e.g. some aspects of recognition memory) are present in early infancy, whereas others (e.g. relational memory) begin to show adult-like characteristics around 2 years of age in monkeys and 5-7 years in humans. Profound and persistent memory loss resulting from insult to the hippocampus in infancy becomes evident in everyday behavior only later in childhood. This pattern of results suggests a maturational gradient within the medial temporal lobe memory system, with most abilities crucially dependent upon the hippocampus emerging in later stages of development, supporting a model of hierarchical organization of memory within the medial temporal lobe.

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