Neural Correlates of Vocal Repertoire in Primates

Dunn, Jacob C. and Smaers, Jeroen B. (2018) Neural Correlates of Vocal Repertoire in Primates. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 12 (534). ISSN 1662-453X

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Understanding the nature of the relationship between vocal complexity and brain architecture across non-human primates may help elucidate some of the key elements underlying the evolution of human speech. Here we report a positive correlation between vocal repertoire size and the relative size of cortical association areas (governing voluntary control over behavioural output) in non-human primates. We further demonstrate that a hominid grade shift in the relative volume of cortical association areas coincides with a similar grade shift in the hypoglossal nucleus (which is associated with the cranial nerve that innervates the muscles of the tongue). Our results support a qualitative continuity in the neural correlates of vocal repertoire, but a quantitative discontinuity in the extent to which the neural system supporting speech is innervated by cortical association areas in great apes and humans.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Prefrontal cortex, Cortical association areas, Evolution of speech, Vocal complexity, Brain evolution, Primate evolution, Language, Primates
Faculty: ARCHIVED Faculty of Science & Technology (until September 2018)
Depositing User: Jacob Dunn
Date Deposited: 23 Jul 2018 15:40
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 18:56

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