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Keywords:

  • S-I;
  • S-II;
  • somatosensory cortex;
  • thalamocortical projections;
  • evolution

Abstract

In Tupaia belangeri and Galago senegalensis, microelectrode recordings immediately after ablation of the representation of the forelimb in the midportion of the first somatosensory area, S-I, revealed that all parts of the second somatosensory area, S-II, remained highly responsive to cutaneous stimuli. In this way, prosimian primates, close relatives of simian primates, and tree shrews differ markedly from monkeys in which S-II is deactivated by comparable ablations, and resemble such mammals as cats and rabbits in which S-II also remains highly responsive following ablations in S-I. Thus, it appears that the generalized mammalian condition is that S-I and S-II are independently activated via parallel thalamocortical pathways. A dependence of S-II on serial connections from the thalamus to the S-I region and then to S-II apparently evolved with the advent of anthropoid primates, and may be present only in monkeys and perhaps other higher primates.