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Abstract

The somatotopic organization of the postcentral parietal cortex of the Old World monkey, Macaca fascicularis, was determined with multi-unit microelectrode recordings. The results lead to the following conclusions: (1) There are at least two complete and systematic representations of the contralateral body surface in the cortex of the postcentral gyrus. One representation is contained within Area 3b, the other within Area 1. (2) While there are important differences in the organization of the two representations, they are basically mirror-images of each other. (3) Each representation maintains body-surface adjacency by cortical adjacency in some mediolateral regions. In other regions, two types of discontinuities can be described: first, in which adjacent body surfaces are represented in separate cortical loci; second, in which adjacent cortical regions represent disparate body-surface regions. The internal organization of each representation is better described as a composite of somatotopic regions (Merzenich et al., '78) than as a serial array of dermatomal bands, or as a “homunculus.” (4) While architectonic Area 2 responds to stimulation of deep body tissue, at least parts of Area 2 also respond to cutaneous stimulation. The organization of the cutaneous representation of the hand in Area 2 is basically a mirror-image of the hand representation in Area 1. (5) Area 3a is activated by deep body tissue stimulation, suggesting the possibility of a fourth body representation within the traditional “S-I” region of somatosensory cortex in macaques. In accord with a previous study in a New World monkey (Merzenich et al., '78), we suggest that the cutaneous representation in Area 3b be considered as SI proper, and that the cutaneous representation in Area 1 be termed the posterior cutaneous field. Furthermore, based on the orientation of the representations of the body surface, as well as other factors, we suggest that the representation in Area 3b is homologous to “SmI” (or “SI”) in non-primates.