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J Hirnforsch. 1983;24(5):551-68.

Comparison of brain structure volumes in Insectivora and Primates. III. Main olfactory bulb (MOB).


Volumes of the main olfactory bulb (MOB) in 76 species of Insectivora, Scandentia, Primates and Macroscelidea, and some of the laminar components in 34 species were measured. No statistically significant differences were found (1) between the two sides in the 162 individuals and (2) between males and females in the 19 species in which both sexes were examined. In interspecific comparisons the relative size (expressed by size indices) shows a definite tendency to decrease from Insectivora through prosimians and simians to man. The average indices were 100-64-10-3.6, respectively. Scandentia and Macroscelidea have the highest average MOB indices (135 and 166). The relative MOB size is discussed in relation to feeding and social behaviour. It was shown that MOB development is largely linked to dietary adaptations but that its importance in feeding behaviour is paralleled by a similar importance in social behaviour. Within each dietary type, MOB development is associated with the different characteristics of the occupied niche. Among Insectivora, ground-dwelling species occupy the upper, and semiaquatic species the lower positions in the size scale for the MOB. Among Primates, in closely related species, the nocturnal species have in general better developed MOBs than the diurnal species. The composition of the MOB is relatively stable, i.e. the laminar components (layers 1 + 2, 3, and 4-6) show no clear change in their percentage size from well developed to strongly reduced MOBs. Only in the diurnal simians are layers 4-6 relatively small. This corresponds with the general observation (obtained from light-microscopy) that the granular layer (layer 6) is reduced and decomposed in higher Primates, and especially in man.

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