Language evolution: neural homologies and neuroinformatics




    This paper contributes to neurolinguistics by grounding an evolutionary account of the readiness of the human brain for language in the search for homologies between different cortical areas in macaque and human. We consider two hypotheses for this grounding, that of Aboitiz and Garcı´a [Brain Res. Rev. 25 (1997) 381] and the Mirror System Hypothesis of Rizzolatti and Arbib [Trends Neurosci. 21 (1998) 188] and note the promise of computational modeling of neural circuitry of the macaque and its linkage to analysis of human brain imaging data. In addition to the functional differences between the two hypotheses, problems arise because they are grounded in different cortical maps of the macaque brain. In order to address these divergences, we have developed several neuroinformatics tools included in an on-line knowledge management system, the NeuroHomology Database, which is equipped with inference engines both to relate and translate information across equivalent cortical maps and to evaluate degrees of homology for brain regions of interest in different species.
    © 2003 Published by Elsevier Ltd.