The limbic system and human evolution

Joel Vilensky, G. W Van Hoesen, A. R. Damasio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The authors adduce evidence from the disciplines of paleontology, neuroanatomy, neuropsychology, and clinical neurology to support the hypothesis that significant neural changes associated with the initial development of the Hominidae occurred in the structures of the cerebrum that constitute the limbic system. Specifically, it is suggested: (1) that the functions currently attributable to the limbic system make it the most likely site for neuroanatomical changes to have occurred which would correlate with the social and sexual changes believed to have accompanied human evolution; (2) that the limbic system, as evidence by its connectivity with the neocortex and from clinical neurological studies, plays a role in many of the "higher" cerebral functions considered instrumental to human evolution, e.g. linguistic and mnemonic; (3) that comparisons of size and cellular composition of limbic structures among primates indicate notable differences between human and other primates; and (4) that the hypothesis of major initial modifications in the limbic system as opposed to neocortex is consistent with evidence from australopithecine endocasts indicating cranial volumes within the range of extant pongids.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)447-460
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Human Evolution
Volume11
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 1982

Fingerprint

human evolution
primate
neocortex
neurology
paleontology
Primates
connectivity
cerebrum
Hominidae
neuropsychology
evidence
linguistics
comparison

Keywords

  • Australopithecine
  • Hominidae
  • human evolution
  • Limbic system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

Cite this

The limbic system and human evolution. / Vilensky, Joel; Hoesen, G. W Van; Damasio, A. R.

In: Journal of Human Evolution, Vol. 11, No. 6, 1982, p. 447-460.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Vilensky, Joel ; Hoesen, G. W Van ; Damasio, A. R. / The limbic system and human evolution. In: Journal of Human Evolution. 1982 ; Vol. 11, No. 6. pp. 447-460.
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