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Volume 8, Number 4, 2002 THE NEUROSCIENTIST 335 Copyright 2002 Sage Publications
 

Summary: Volume 8, Number 4, 2002 THE NEUROSCIENTIST 335
Copyright 2002 Sage Publications
ISSN 1073-8584
Recently, our colleagues have identified a class of neu-
rons that are unique to humans and our closest relatives,
the great apes (bonobos, common chimpanzees, gorillas,
and orangutans) (Nimchinsky and others 1999). These
neurons are large, spindle-shaped cells located in layer 5
of the anterior cingulate cortex, which is labeled in
orange on the brain map in Figure 1. The spindle cells
are characterized by their bipolar shape resulting from
the large apical dendrite extending toward the pial sur-
face of the cortex and the single large basal dendrite
extending toward the underlying white matter (see Fig.
2). Apart from these two very large dendrites, there are
typically no other dendrites branching from the vicinity
of the cell body. The volume of the average spindle cell
is four times greater than that of the average layer 5
pyramidal neuron (Nimchinsky and others 1999). The
spindle cells are largest and most abundant in humans

  

Source: Allman, John M. - Division of Biology, California Institute of Technology

 

Collections: Biology and Medicine