Monkeys’ parietals

Parietal lobes are specialized in primates, and particularly in humans. Nonetheless, the information on their anatomical variation is still scanty. In non-human primates, parietal cortex is investigated only in few species (generally, macaques) and mostly at the histological level. Now we have published a morphometric analysis on the parietal lobes of 11 cercopithecid genera. The study was performed on endocasts, as to broaden the conclusions to the fossil record too. Parietal differences among the main subfamilies have been described before, even in fossils, but without a detailed quantitative analysis. The main shape changes separate genera with large occipital lobes and small parietal lobes (cercopiths) from species with large parietal lobes and small occipital lobes (colobuses and baboons). Allometry is apparently not involved in this feature, and size increase is only associated with taller endocasts (probably due to cranial – not cerebral – factors). These different parietal-occipital proportions are supposed to be related to distinct cognitive organization, hypothetically influenced by diet and locomotion. It would be hence interesting to test the effect of different parieto-occipital ratios on specific behaviors and cognitive capacities. More body or more vision? Different views of the world …

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