The brain of the African wild dog. III. The auditory system

Samson Chengetanai, Adhil Bhagwandin, Mads F. Bertelsen, Therese Hård, Patrick R. Hof, Muhammad A. Spocter, Paul R. Manger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The large external pinnae and extensive vocal repertoire of the African wild dog (Lycaon pictus) has led to the assumption that the auditory system of this unique canid may be specialized. Here, using cytoarchitecture, myeloarchitecture, and a range of immunohistochemical stains, we describe the systems-level anatomy of the auditory system of the African wild dog. We observed the cochlear nuclear complex, superior olivary nuclear complex, lateral lemniscus, inferior colliculus, medial geniculate body, and auditory cortex all being in their expected locations, and exhibiting the standard subdivisions of this system. While located in the ectosylvian gyri, the auditory cortex includes several areas, resembling the parcellation observed in cats and ferrets, although not all of the auditory areas known from these species could be identified in the African wild dog. These observations suggest that, broadly speaking, the systems-level anatomy of the auditory system, and by extension the processing of auditory information, within the brain of the African wild dog closely resembles that observed in other carnivores. Our findings indicate that it is likely that the extraction of the semantic content of the vocalizations of African wild dogs, and the behaviors generated, occurs beyond the classically defined auditory system, in limbic or association neocortical regions involved in cognitive functions. Thus, to obtain a deeper understanding of how auditory stimuli are processed, and how communication is achieved, in the African wild dog compared to other canids, cortical regions beyond the primary sensory areas will need to be examined in detail.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3229-3244
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number18
StatePublished - 15 Dec 2020


  • canids
  • carnivores
  • neuroanatomy


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