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Understanding the phylogeny of the human brain requires an appreciation of brain organization of our closest animal relatives. Neuroimaging tools such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) allow us to study whole-brain organization in species which can otherwise not be studied. Here, we used diffusion MRI to reconstruct the connections of the cortical hemispheres of the chimpanzee. This allowed us to perform an exploratory analysis of the grey matter structures of the chimpanzee cerebral cortex and their underlying white matter connectivity profiles. We identified a number of networks that strongly resemble those found in other primates, including the corticospinal system, limbic connections through the cingulum bundle and fornix, and occipital-temporal and temporal-frontal systems. Notably, chimpanzee temporal cortex showed a strong resemblance to that of the human brain, providing some insight into the specialization of the two species' shared lineage.

Original publication




Journal article


Brain Struct Funct

Publication Date





1021 - 1033


Brain organization, Comparative, Connectivity, Diffusion MRI, Frontal cortex, Great ape, Limbic system, Networks, Temporal cortex, Tractography