I'm having some trouble understanding the anatomical differences that classify the hippocampus as a cortical structure but not the amygdala. I have included the screenshot of a diagram from Gray's Clinical Neuroanatomy.


Medial aspect of the left cerebral hemisphere demonstrating some limbic structures (yellow). The anterior nuclear group of the thalamus is coloured orange, and the rest of the thalamus is magenta. The approximate position of the brain stem is outlined in a heavy interrupted line.

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    $\begingroup$ I have suggested an edit to your question that corrects the link to the figure. However, I am not sure that the figure adds anything to the question. If anything, it shows that the hippocampus and the amygdala are both areas of the limbic system. You may want to have a look at the Wikipedia page on allocortex and if that does not satisfy your curiosity, maybe read the Cortex: Statistics and Geometry of Neuronal Connectivity. $\endgroup$
    – vkehayas
    Commented Jul 18, 2018 at 15:16

1 Answer 1


You can't distinguish cortical from deep structures from a picture like the one you reference in Gray's Clinical Neuroanatomy. The hippocampus is a cortical structure because its cell bodies are in the outer layers of the cerebrum. The amygdala is a deep structure because its cell bodies are in nuclei. I'm not sure if your textbook has stained sections, but if it does, that should help clarify the difference between the two structures.

In this sagittal section you can see both. Notice the hippocampus (at both ends) follows the bumps and grooves of the cortex where the amygdala is a circular/almond shaped cluster of cells.

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