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A cross-species ultrastructural study of the corpus callosum was performed in six domestic species: the rat, the rabbit, the cat, the dog, the horse and the cow. The results indicate cross-species conservatism in callosal fiber composition with a good interspecies relation between fiber number and brain size. Across species, increases in both brain size and callosal area indicate more callosal fibers, although less than expected from the estimated increase in cortical cell number. Within each species, the correlation between fiber number and brain weight tends to disappear, although in most cases a larger callosum implies a larger number of callosal fibers. The median fiber diameter was conservative across species (0.11-0.2 microm), indicating the maintenance of conduction velocity of most callosal fibers regardless of interhemispheric distance. Nevertheless, the maximal fiber diameters tended to be higher in species with larger brains. Therefore, there is a population of coarse-diameter fibers that tend to increase their diameter and conduction velocity with increasing brain size. However, allometric calculations suggest that the associated increase in velocity in these large fibers may not be sufficient to maintain a constant interhemispheric transmission time in different species.

Original publication




Journal article


Brain Behav Evol

Publication Date





98 - 105


Animals, Axons, Cats, Cattle, Corpus Callosum, Dogs, Female, Functional Laterality, Horses, Male, Mammals, Microscopy, Electron, Nerve Fibers, Myelinated, Rabbits, Rats, Rats, Sprague-Dawley, Synaptic Transmission, Ultrasonography