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Brain Behav Evol. 2007;69(1):20-36. Epub 2006 Aug 14.

Somatosensory areas of manatee cerebral cortex: histochemical characterization and functional implications.

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Department of Neuroscience, University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla, USA.


A histochemical and cytoarchitectural analysis was completed for the neocortex of the Florida manatee in order to localize primary sensory areas and particularly primary somatosensory cortex (SI). Based on the location of cytochrome oxidase-dense staining in flattened cortex preparations, preliminary functional divisions were assigned for SI with the face represented laterally followed by the flipper, body and tail representations proceeding medially. The neonate exhibited four distinct patches in the frontoparietal cortex (presumptive SI), whereas juvenile and adult specimens demonstrated a distinct pattern in which cytochrome oxidase-dense staining appeared to be blended into one large patch extending dorsomedially. This differential staining between younger versus older more developed animals was also seen on coronal sections stained for cytochrome oxidase, myelin, or Nissl bodies. These were systematically analyzed in order to accurately localize the laminar and cytoarchitectural extent of cytochrome oxidase staining. Overall, SI appears to span seven cytoarchitectural areas to which we have assigned presumptive functional representations based on the relative locations of cytochrome oxidase-dense staining.

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