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Although the relative expansion of the frontal cortex in primate evolution is generally accepted, the nature of the human uniqueness, if any, and between-species anatomo-functional comparisons of the frontal areas remain controversial. To provide a novel interpretation of the evolution of primate brains, sulcal morphological variability of the medial frontal cortex was assessed in old-world monkeys (macaque, baboon) and Hominoidea (chimpanzee, human). We discovered that both Hominoidea do possess a paracingulate sulcus, which was previously thought to be uniquely human and linked to higher cognitive functions like mentalizing. Also, we revealed systematic sulcal morphological organisations of the medial frontal cortex that can be traced from multiple old-world monkey to Hominoidea species, demonstrating an evolutionary conserved organizational principle. Our data provide a new framework to compare sulcal morphology, cytoarchitectonic areal distribution, connectivity, and function across the primate order, leading to clear predictions on how other primate brains might be anatomo-functionally organized.

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