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This commentary highlights a "cerebellar classic" by a pioneer of neurobiology, Christfried Jakob. Jakob discussed the connectivity between the cerebellum and mesencephalic, diencephalic, and telencephalic structures in an evolutionary, developmental, and histophysiological perspective. He proposed three evolutionary morphofunctional stages, the archicerebellar, paleocerebellar, and neocerebellar; he attributed the reduced cerebellospinal connections in humans, compared to other primates, to the perfection of the rubrolenticular and thalamocortical systems and the intense ascending pathways to the red nucleus in exchange for the more elementary descending efferent pathways. Jakob hypothesized the convergence of cerebellar pathways in associative cortical regions, insisting on the intimate collaboration of the cerebellum with the frontal lobe. The extensive lines of communication between regions throughout the association cortex substantiate Jakob's intuition and begin to outline the mechanisms for substantial cerebellar involvement in functions beyond the purely motor domain. Atop a foundation of anatomical and phylogenetic mastery, Jakob conceived ideas that were noteworthy, timely, and have much relevance to our current thinking on cerebellar structure and function.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





417 - 424


Cerebellar histophysiology, History of neuroscience, Ontogeny, Phylogeny, Animals, Cerebellum, Frontal Lobe, Humans, Neurology, Phylogeny, Psychiatry