Neural Correlates of Vocal Repertoire in Primates

Bibliographic Collection: 
Publication Type: Journal Article
Authors: Dunn, Jacob C.; Smaers, Jeroen B.
Year of Publication: 2018
Journal: Frontiers in Neuroscience
Volume: 12
Pagination: 534
Publication Language: eng
ISSN: 1662-453X

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

DOI: 10.3389/fnins.2018.00534