Send to

Choose Destination
J Comp Neurol. 2016 Feb 15;524(3):595-608. doi: 10.1002/cne.23838. Epub 2015 Jul 21.

Evolution of posterior parietal cortex and parietal-frontal networks for specific actions in primates.

Author information

Department of Psychology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, 37240.


Posterior parietal cortex (PPC) is an extensive region of the human brain that develops relatively late and is proportionally large compared with that of monkeys and prosimian primates. Our ongoing comparative studies have led to several conclusions about the evolution of this posterior parietal region. In early placental mammals, PPC likely was a small multisensory region much like PPC of extant rodents and tree shrews. In early primates, PPC likely resembled that of prosimian galagos, in which caudal PPC (PPCc) is visual and rostral PPC (PPCr) has eight or more multisensory domains where electrical stimulation evokes different complex motor behaviors, including reaching, hand-to-mouth, looking, protecting the face or body, and grasping. These evoked behaviors depend on connections with functionally matched domains in premotor cortex (PMC) and motor cortex (M1). Domains in each region compete with each other, and a serial arrangement of domains allows different factors to influence motor outcomes successively. Similar arrangements of domains have been retained in New and Old World monkeys, and humans appear to have at least some of these domains. The great expansion and prolonged development of PPC in humans suggest the addition of functionally distinct territories. We propose that, across primates, PMC and M1 domains are second and third levels in a number of parallel, interacting networks for mediating and selecting one type of action over others.


cortical connections; motor behavior; motor cortex; prosimian primates; visual cortex

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center