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Von Economo neurons in the elephant brain

Hakeem, Atiya Y. and Sherwood, Chet C. and Bonar, Christopher J. and Butti, Camilla and Hof, Patrick R. and Allman, John M. (2009) Von Economo neurons in the elephant brain. Anatomical Record, 292 (2). pp. 242-248. ISSN 1932-8494. doi:10.1002/ar.20829.

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Von Economo neurons (VENs), previously found in humans, all of the great ape species, and four cetacean species, are also present in African and Indian elephants. The VENs in the elephant are primarily found in similar locations to those in the other species. They are most abundant in the frontoinsular cortex (area FI) and are also present at lower density in the anterior cingulate cortex. Additionally, they are found in a dorsolateral prefrontal area and less abundantly in the region of the frontal pole. The VEN morphology appears to have arisen independently in hominids, cetaceans, and elephants, and may reflect a specialization for the rapid transmission of crucial social information in very large brains.

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Additional Information:© 2009 Wiley-Liss Inc. Received: 27 June 2008; Accepted: 19 September 2008. We thank Virginie Goubert for her assistance in preparing the histological sections and Herb Adams for machining the microtome stage for the sectioning of the elephant brains. We thank Jason Surace for his assistance in preparing the African elephant brains for transport. We thank Cheryl Stimpson and Amy Garrison for assistance with histological preparation of other mammalian brains. We are grateful to Dr. Alisa Newton of the Philadelphia Zoo for providing access to the giant elephant shrew brain. We thank Prof. Maciej Henneberg for providing the Indian elephant brain samples, and Drs. Peter J. Morgane and Ilya I. Glezer for the histologic materials from the bottlenose dolphin brains.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
James S. McDonnell FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:elephant; Von Economo neuron; frontoinsular cortex; cetacean; large brains
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20090529-120827390
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:14342
Deposited By: Jason Perez
Deposited On:01 Jun 2009 20:46
Last Modified:08 Nov 2021 23:11

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