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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1976;280:349-66.

Morphological cerebral asymmetries of modern man, fossil man, and nonhuman primate.


Cerebral asymmetries are common in modern and fossil man and the great apes. Those occurring most often are listed here: 1. The left sylvian fissure in man is longer than the right and in both fetal and adult brains the posterior end of the right sylvian fissure is commonly higher than the left. Associated with these findings, the left planum temporale is usually longer than the right. 2. The left occipital pole is often wider and usually protrudes more posteriorly than the right. 3. The left lateral ventricle, and especially the occipital horn, is usually larger than the right. 4. If one frontal pole extends beyond the other it is usually the right. 5. On X-ray computerized axial tomograms (CT) of the brain the right frontal lobe and the central portion of the right hemisphere more often measure wider than the left. 6. The CT studies commonly show a Yakovlevian anticlockwise torque (taking the nose as 12 o'clock), with the left occipital pole longer and often extending across the midline toward the right and a wider right hemisphere in its central and frontal portions and frequent forward protrusion of the right frontal pole. This is found also in newborns. 7. The posterior end of the sagittal sinus usually lies to the right of the midline and the sinus flows more directly into the right transverse sinus than into the left. 8. The right transverse sinus is usually higher than the left. 9. In left-handed and ambidextrous individuals the posterior ends of the sylvian fissures are more often nearly equal in height and the occipital regions are more often equal in width or the right may be wider. 10. The torque of the pyramidal tract and the hemispheral torque cannot at present be related to right- or left-handedness. Statistics concerning left-handedness are somewhat confounded, because it is likely that not a few individuals are left-handed because of an early injury of the left hemisphere in a normally right-handed individual. 11. Cerebral asymmetries are found in fossil man similar to those in modern man. 12. Asymmetries of the sylvian fissures similar to those of modern man have been found in the great apes and are particularly common in the orangutan. 13. The most striking and consistently present cerebral asymmetries found in adult and fetal brains are in the region of the posterior end of the sylvian fissures-- the areas generally regarded as a major importance in language function.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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