The limbic system of tetrapods: a comparative analysis of cortical and amygdalar populations.

L. L. Bruce, T. J. Neary

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

228 Scopus citations


Recent studies of the limbic system of tetrapods have made data available that challenge some of the long-held tenets of forebrain evolution. Using the basic principle of parsimony--that the best hypotheses concerning homologies are those requiring the fewest number of evolutionary changes--we have reevaluated comparisons of tetrapod limbic systems. Given the current data, the following points appear to be justified: (1) the common ancestors of reptiles and mammals had a well-developed limbic system in which the basic subdivisions and connections of the amygdalar nuclei were established; (2) the ventral part of the lateral pallium in amphibians appears to be a single structure which corresponds to at least four areas in reptiles: centromedial DVR, ventral anterior amygdala, lateral amygdala, and part of the lateral cortex; (3) the medial pallium in amphibians appears to be homologous with the dorsal and medial cortices in reptiles and with the general and hippocampal cortices in mammals: (4) the cortical targets of the main olfactory bulb in reptiles and mammals appear to be homologous, and their common ancestor probably had a corresponding olfactory pallial field; (5) the targets of the accessory olfactory bulb in amphibians, reptiles, and mammals appear to be homologous, with the exception of nucleus sphericus in reptiles, which lacks an obvious homologue in non-reptiles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)224-234
Number of pages11
JournalBrain, behavior and evolution
Issue number4-5
StatePublished - 1995


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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