The human cerebellum has almost 80% of the surface area of the neocortex
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
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© 2020 National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. The surface of the human cerebellar cortex is much more tightly folded than the cerebral cortex. It was computationally reconstructed for the first time to the level of all individual folia from multicontrast high-resolution postmortem MRI scans. Its total shrinkage-corrected surface area (1,590 cm2) was larger than expected or previously reported, equal to 78% of the total surface area of the human neocortex. The unfolded and flattened surface comprised a narrow strip 10 cm wide but almost 1 m long. By applying the same methods to the neocortex and cerebellum of the macaque monkey, we found that its cerebellum was relatively much smaller, approximately 33% of the total surface area of its neocortex. This suggests a prominent role for the cerebellum in the evolution of distinctively human behaviors and cognition.