Behavioral Development after Forelimb Deafferentation on Day of Birth in Monkeys with and without Blinding

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Science  07 Sep 1973:
Vol. 181, Issue 4103, pp. 959-960
DOI: 10.1126/science.181.4103.959


Four infant monkeys underwent somatosensory deafferentation of both forelimbs within hours after birth. Ambulation, climbing, and reaching toward objects developed spontaneously in each case. Thumb-forefinger prehension could be trained by operant shaping methods. Two infants deafferented at birth and blinded by eyelid closure were retarded in motor development by only 1 to 2 weeks. Results indicate that topographic sensory feedback and autogenetic spinal reflexes are not necessary after birth for the development of most types of movement performed by the forelimb musculature in monkeys.