Prolonged maturation of prefrontal white matter in chimpanzees
Tomoko Sakai, Daichi Hirai, Akichika Mikami, Juri Suzuki, Yuzuru Hamada, Masaki Tomonaga, Masayuki Tanaka, Takako Miyabe-Nishiwaki, Haruyuki Makishima, Masato Nakatsukasa, Tetsuro Matsuzawa
Delayed maturation in the prefrontal cortex, a brain region associated with complex cognitive processing, has been proposed to be specific to humans. However, we found, using a longitudinal design, that prefrontal white matter volume in chimpanzees increased gradually with age, and the increase appears to continue beyond the onset of puberty, as in humans. This provides the first evidence for a prolonged period of prefrontal connection elaboration in great apes.