Chimp brain photo
From Science, March 3, 2007:
Brain Evolution Studies Go Micro
(get pdf)

Dr. Todd M. Preuss
Associate Research Professor
Division of Neuropharmacology and Neurologic Diseases                              
Yerkes National Primate Research Center
Emory University


Postdoc (Biological Psychology), Vanderbilt University, 1990-1996.
Ph.D. (Biological Anthropology), Yale University, 1990.
B.A. (Psychology), Haverford College, 1980.

Research Program:  The Preuss laboratory carries out fundamental research on the structure and evolution of human cerebral cortex.  Current projects seek to identify the distinctive features of the human brain, which constitute the neural substrates of human-specific cognitive and behavioral mechanisms.  We do this by comparing the anatomy of cortical layers and areas in humans, chimpanzees (the animals most closely related to humans), and Old World and New World monkeys.  Additionally, we use comparative genomics to identify  evolutionary modifications of human brain systems., emphasizing the specializations of human cerebral cortex.  Dr. Preuss also has long-standing interests in the evolution of frontal and visual cortex. 

Sections of human primary visual cortex stained for nonphosphorylated neurofilament protein using monoclonal antibody SMI-32 and for microtubule-associated protein 2 (MAP 2).  These preparations reveal a distinctive, net-like pattern of staining in layer 4A that is not seen in apes or monkeys.  These results suggest that the M and P processing streams are organized differently in some respects in humans and in other primates.   For more information, see Preuss, T.M., Qi, H.-X., and Kaas, J.H. (1999) PNAS 96:11601-11606 (get pdf), and Preuss & Coleman (2002) Cerebral Cortex, 12: 671-691 (get pdf).

Audio and Visual Presentations

• Invited Lecture, Humans and Other Animals: A Modern Darwinian Understanding of "Man's Place in Nature." Emory's Center for Mind, Brain, and Culture (CMBC), November 3, 2011.  (audio only)

Lecture on human brain aging at the Symposium on Human Brain Specializations, Center for Academic Research and Training in Anthropogeny (CARTA), University of California, San Diego, October, 2011. (video)

• Introductory talks for the Center for Mind, Brain, and Culture (CMBC) Summer Seminar, "What's Human about the Human Brain?" Emory University, May 25, 2011. 
Evolutionary background (slides)
Evolutionary background
Neuroanatomical background
Neuroanatomical background

• Invited lecture—The Human Brain: Rewired and Running Hot—presented at the CMBC Conference on the Evolution of the Human Brain and Human Cognition, Emory University, November 2009. (audio only)

• Invited lecture,
Human Brain Specializations, presented at The New Comparative Biology of Human Nature, an Arthur M. Sackler Colloquium hosted by the National Academy of Sciences, Irvine, CA, November 16-18, 2006.  (slides with audio)

Recent and Selected Publications

Hecht, E. E., Murphy, L. E., Gutman, D. A., Votaw, J. R., Schuster, D. M., Preuss, T. M., et al. (2013). Differences in neural activation for object-directed grasping in chimpanzees and humans. Journal of Neuroscience, 33(35), 14117–14134. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2172-13.2013.  PMCID:  PMC3756757 

Chen X, Errangi B, Li L, Glasser MF, Westlye LT, Fjell AM,Walhovd KB, Hu X, Herndon JG, Preuss TM, Rilling JK (2013) Brain aging in humans, chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta): MRI studies of macro- and microstructural changes.  Neurobiol Aging. 2013 Apr 24. [Epub ahead of print]  PMID: 23623601 doi:pii: S0197-4580(13)00147-4. 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2013.03.028.  

Li L, Hu X, Preuss TM, Glasser MF, Damen FW, Qiu Y, Rilling J. (2013) Mapping putative hubs in human, chimpanzee and rhesus macaque connectomes via diffusion tractography.  Neuroimage. 2013 Apr 17. doi:pii: S1053-8119(13)00352-2. 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2013.04.024. [Epub ahead of print]  PMID: 23603286.  

Glasser MF, Goyal MS Preuss TM, Raichle MC, Van Essen DC (2013) Trends and properties of human cerebral cortex: Correlations with cortical myelin content. Neuroimage. 2013 Apr 6. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 23567887  doi:pii: S1053-8119(13)00310-8. 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2013.03.060.

Preuss TM (2012) Human brain evolution: from gene discovery to phenotype discovery. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 109 Suppl 1:10709-10716.  PMID: 22723367   Request reprint

Zeng J, Konoka G, Hunt BG, Preuss TM, Geschwind, DH, Yi SJ. Divergent whole genome methylation maps of human and chimpanzee brains reveal epigenetic basis of human regulatory evolution. American Journal of Human Genetics. 91(3):455-65. PMID: 22922032  Request reprint

Konopka, G, Friedrich T, Davis-Turak, J, Winden K, Oldham, MC, Gao F, Chen L, Wang G-Y, Luo R, Preuss TM, Geschwind DH. 2012. Human-specific transcriptional networks in the brain. Neuron 75:601–617.  PMID:  22920253.  Comment by Ponting and OliverRequest reprint

Hecht EE, Gutman DA, Preuss TM, Sanchez MM, Parr LA, Rilling JK (2012) Process versus product in social learning:  Comparative diffusion tensor imaging of neural systems for action execution-observation matching in macaques, chimpanzees, and humans. Cerebral Cortex. PMID: 22539611.

Li L, Rilling JK, Preuss TM, Glasser MF, Damen FW, Hu X (2012) Quantitative assessment of a framework for creating anatomical brain networks via global tractography. NeuroImage:1-53. PMID: 22484406.  PMID:22484406Request reprint

Li L, Rilling JK, Preuss TM, Glasser MF, Hu X (2012) The effects of connection reconstruction method on the interregional connectivity of brain networks via diffusion tractography. Human Brain Mapping 33(8):1894-1913. PMID: 21928316.

Kaas, J.H., and Preuss, T.M. (2012) Human brain evolution.In Fundamental Neuroscience, 4th Edition (eds: L Squire, D Berg, FE Bloom, S du Lac, A Ghosh, NC Spitzer). Academic Press.  pp. 901-918.  Request reprint

Jean S, Preuss TM, Sharma P, Anderson DC, Provenzale JM, Ross SR, Stroud E, Connor-Stroud FC (2012) Cerebrovascular accident (stroke) in captive, group-housed, female chimpanzees. Comparative Medicine 62(4):1-8.  PMID: 23043787  Request reprint

Bryant KL, Suwyn C, Reding KM, Smiley JF, Hackett TA, and Preuss TM. 2012. Evidence for ape and human specializations in geniculostriate projections from VGLUT2 immunohistochemistry. Brain, Behavior and Evolution. Epub 2012 Aug 10.  PMID: 22889767. Request reprint

Preuss, TM. 2012.  Alien brains – a defense of exceptionalism.  In Povinelli, DJ, World Without Weight: Perspectives on an Alien Mind, Oxford, Oxford University Press, pp. 30-31. Request reprint

Povinelli, DJ, Preuss, TM. 2012.  Afterword: A world without apes? In Povinelli, DJ, World Without Weight: Perspectives on an Alien Mind, Oxford, Oxford University Press, pp. 330-332. Request reprint

Rilling J, Glasser M, Jdabdi S, Andersson J, Preuss T (2011) Continuity, divergence, and the evolution of brain language pathways. Front Evol Neurosci 3 (electronic). DOI=10.3389/fnevo.2011.00011.  PMID: 22319495

Preuss TM (2011) The human brain: rewired and running hot. Ann N Y Acad Sci 1225 Suppl 1:E182-191.  PMID: 21599696  Request reprint

Li L, Rilling JK, Preuss TM, Glasser MF, Hu X (2012) The effects of connection reconstruction method on the interregional connectivity of brain networks via diffusion tractography. Human Brain Mapping 33(8):1894-1913. PMID: 21928316  Request reprint

Rilling JK, Scholz J, Preuss TM, Glasser MF, Errangi BK, Behrens TE (2011) Differences between chimpanzees and bonobos in neural systems supporting social cognition. Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. Apr 5. [Epub ahead of print].  PMID: 21467047   Request reprint

Li L, Preuss TM, Rilling JK, Hopkins WD, Glasser MF, Kumar B, Nana R, Zhang X, Hu X (2010) Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) precentral corticospinal system asymmetry and handedness: a diffusion magnetic resonance imaging study. PLoS One 5:e12886.  PMID: 20877630.

Preuss, T. M. (2010). Reinventing primate neuroscience for the twenty-first century. Primate Neuroethology. M. L. Platt and A. A. Ghazanfar. Oxford, Oxford University Press: 422-453. Request reprint

Preuss, T. M. (2009). The cognitive neuroscience of human uniqueness. The Cognitive Neurosciences.  Fourth Edition. M. S. Gazzaniga. Cambridge, MA, MIT Press: 49-64.  Request reprint

Parr, L. A., E. Hecht, et al. (2009). Face processing in the chimpanzee brain. Curr Biol 19(1): 50-53.

Konopka G, Bomar JM, Winden K, Coppola G, Jonsson ZO, Gao F, Peng S, Preuss TM, Wohlschlegel JA, Geschwind DH. (2009). Human-specific transcriptional regulation of CNS development genes by FOXP2. Nature 462(7270): 213-217.

Balsters J, Cussans E, Diedrichsen J, Phillips KA, Preuss TM, Rilling JK, Ramnani N. (2009). Evolution of the cerebellar cortex: The selective expansion of prefrontal-projecting cerebellar lobules. NeuroImage. Epub 2009/10/28.

Rosen RF, Farberg AS, Gearing M, Dooyema J, Long PM, Anderson DC, Coppola G, Geschwind DH, Pare J, Duong TQ, Hopkins W, Preuss TM, Walker LC  2008. Tauopathy with paired helical filaments in an aged chimpanzee. Journal of Comparative Neurology 508: 259-270.

Rilling, J. K., Glasser, M. F., Preuss, T. M., Ma, X., Zhao, T., Hu, X., and Behrens, T. E. 2008. The evolution of the arcuate fasciculus revealed with comparative DTI. Nature Neuroscience 11:426-428.

Kaas, JH, Preuss, TM  2008. Human brain evolution.  In: Squire LR, Berg D, Bloom FE, du Lac S, Ghosh A, Spizer NC, editors.  Fundamental Neuroscience, Third Edition, pp.  1019-1037.  Amsterdam: Academic Preuss.  Request reprint

Rilling, J.K., Barks, S.K., Parr, L.A., Preuss, T.M., Faber, T.l., Pagnoni, G., Bremner, J.D., and Votaw, J.R.  2007. A comparison of resting state brain activity in humans and chimpanzees. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 104(43):17146-51.  Get PDF.

Calarco, J.A., Xing, Y., Caceres, M., Xiao, X., Pan, Q., Lee, C., Preuss, T.M., and Blencowe, B.J.  2007. Alternative splicing differences between humans and chimpanzees affect transcripts from functionally diverse genes. Genes and Development 21(22):2963-75.  Get PDF.

Preuss TM. 2007. Primate brain evolution in phylogenetic context. In: Kaas JH, Preuss TM, editors. Evolution of Nervous Sytems Vol 4: The Evolution of Primate Nervous Systems. Oxford: Elsevier, pp. 3-34.   Request reprint

Kaas JH, Preuss TM, editors. 2007. Evolution of Nervous Systems, Vol. 4: The Evolution of Primate Nervous Systems. Oxford: Elsevier.  Request reprint

Preuss TM. 2007. Evolutionary specializations of primate brain systems. In: Ravosa MJ, Dagosto M, editors. Primate Origins: Evolution and Adaptations. New York: Springer, pp. 625-675.  Request reprint

Caceres M, Suwyn C, Maddox M, Thomas JW, Preuss TM. 2007. Increased cortical expression of two synaptogenic thrombospondins in human brain evolution. Cerebral Cortex 17:2312-2321 [Epub 2006 Dec 20].  Get PDF file [1.8 MB].

Preuss TM. 2006. Who's afraid of Homo sapiens? Journal of Biomedical Discovery and Collaboration, vol. 1 (available online).  Get PDF file.

Preuss TM, Caceres M, Oldham MC, Geschwind DH. 2004. Human brain evolution: Insights from microarrays. Nature Reviews Genetics 5:850-860.  Get PDF file [213  KB]

Preuss TM. 2004. What is it like to be a human? In: Gazzaniga MS, editor. The Cognitive Neurosciences III, Third Edition. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pp. 5-22.   Request reprint

Preuss TM. 2004. Specializations of the human visual system: The monkey model meets human reality. In: Kaas JH, Collins CE, editors. The Primate Visual System. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. p. 231-259Request reprint

Caceres M, Lachuer J, Zapala MA, Redmond JC, Kudo L, Geschwind DH, Lockhart DJ, Preuss TM, Barlow C. 2003. Elevated gene expression levels distinguish human from non-human primate brains. PNAS 100:1330-1335.  Get PDF file [666 KB].

Kaas, J.H., and T.M. Preuss, 2003. Human brain evolution. In Fundamental Neuroscience (Second Edition), L.R. Squire, F.E. Bloom, S.K. McConnell, J.L. Roberts,  N.C. Spitzer, and M.J. Zigmond (eds.) San Diego: Academic Press, pp. 1147-1166.   Request reprint

Preuss, T.M., and G.Q. Coleman, 2002.  Human-specific organization of primary visual cortex: Alternating compartments of dense Cat-301 and calbindin immunoreacitivity in layer 4A.  Cereb. Cortex 12: 671-691.  Get PDF file [3.4 MB]  See the cover photo.

Hackett, T.A, T.M. Preuss, and J.H. Kaas, 2001. Architectonic identification of the core region in auditory cortex of macaques, chimpanzees, and humans.  J. Comp. Neurol. 441: 197-222.  Get PDF file [2.4 MB]

Preuss, T.M., 2001. The discovery of cerebral diversity: An unwelcome scientific revolution.  In D. Falk and K. Gibson (eds.): Evolutionary Anatomy of the Primate Cerebral Cortex.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 138-164.   Get PDF file [8.7 MB].

Preuss, TM. (Editor), 2000. The Diversity of Mammalian Cortical Organization. Special symposium edition. Brain, Behavior and Evolution, volume 55.   View table of contents

Preuss, TM., 2000. Taking the measure of diversity: Comparative alternatives to the model-animal paradigm in cortical neuroscience.  Brain, Behavior and Evolution 55: 287-299.  View abstract / Get PDF file [376.2 KB]

Preuss, T. M., 2000.  What's human about the human brain? In The New Cognitive Neurosciences. Second Edition, M. S. Gazzaniga, ed. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pp.  1219-1234.  View abstract / Get PDF file [14.4 MB]

Preuss, T.M., H.-X. Qi, and J.H. Kaas, 1999. Distinctive compartmental organization of human primary visual cortex. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences U.S.A. 96: 11601-11606.  View abstract / Get PDF file [571.4 KB]

Preuss, T. M., and J. H. Kaas, 1999. Human brain evolution. In Fundamental Neuroscience, F. E. Bloom, S. C. Landis, J. L. Robert, L. R. Squire, and M. J. Zigmond, ed. San Diego: Academic Press, pp. 1283-1311.  Request reprint

Preuss, T. M., I. Stepniewska, and J. H. Kaas, 1996.  Movement representation in the dorsal and ventral premotor areas of owl monkeys: A microstimulation study.  J. Comp. Neurol. 371: 649-676.  View abstract / Get PDF file [48.8 MB]

Preuss, T. M., 1995.  Do rats have prefrontal cortex?  The Rose-Woolsey-Akert program reconsidered. J. Cogn. Neurosci. 7: 1-24.  View abstract & synopsis / Get PDF file [3 MB]

Povinelli, D. J., and T. M. Preuss, 1995.  Theory of mind: Evolutionary history of a cognitive specialization. Trends Neurosci. 18: 418-424.  View abstract / Get PDF file [1.1 MB]

Preuss, T. M., 1995. The argument from animals to humans in cognitive neuroscience. In The Cognitive Neurosciences, M. S. Gazzaniga, ed. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pp. 1227-1241.  (Reprinted in Cognitive Neuroscience: A Reader, M.S. Gazzaniga, ed. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 2000).  View abstract  /  Get PDF file [19.5 MB].

Preuss, T. M.,  1993.  The role of the neurosciences in primate evolutionary biology: Historical commentary and prospectus.  In Primates and their Relatives in Phylogenetic Perspective, R. D. E. MacPhee, ed.  New York: Plenum Press, pp. 333-362.  Get PDF file  [6.2  MB]

Preuss, T. M., and P. S. Goldman-Rakic, 1991.  Myelo- and cytoarchitecture of the granular frontal cortex and surrounding regions in the strepsirhine primate  Galago and the anthropoid primate Macaca.J. Comp. Neurol. 310: 429-474.  View abstract / Get PDF file [35.4 MB]

Complete List of Publications

Links & Images

Yerkes Homepage  | CBN HomepagePreuss Homepage



Webpage maintained by Dr. Todd M. Preuss.
Document last revised 18-September-2013.
(c) Copyright 2013.