Employing cyto-, myelo-, and chemoarchitectural staining techniques, we analyzed the structure of the hippocampal formation in the banded mongoose and domestic ferret, species belonging to the two carnivoran superfamilies, which have had independent evolutionary trajectories for the past 55 million years. Our observations indicate that, despite the time since sharing a last common ancestor, these species show extensive similarities. The four major portions of the hippocampal formation (cornu Ammonis, dentate gyrus, subicular complex, and entorhinal cortex) were readily observed, contained the same internal subdivisions, and maintained the topological relationships of these subdivisions that could be considered typically mammalian. In addition, adult hippocampal neurogenesis was observed in both species, occurring at a rate similar to that observed in other mammals. Despite the overall similarities, several differences to each other, and to other mammalian species, were observed. We could not find evidence for the presence of the CA2 and CA4 fields of the cornu Ammonis region. In the banded mongoose the dentate gyrus appears to be comprised of up to seven lamina, through the sublamination of the molecular and granule cell layers, which is not observed in the domestic ferret. In addition, numerous subtle variations in chemoarchitecture between the two species were observed. These differences may contribute to an overall variation in the functionality of the hippocampal formation between the species, and in comparison to other mammalian species. These similarities and variations are important to understanding to what extent phylogenetic affinities and constraints affect potential adaptive evolutionary plasticity of the hippocampal formation.
- adult hippocampal neurogenesis
- cornu Ammonis
- dentate gyrus