The fibers of the pyramidal tract (PT) that connect the precentral and postcentral gyrus with the spinal cord are organized in a topological manner. However, their exact arrangement and orientation in the internal capsule is still a matter of debate. Here, we applied magnetic resonance diffusion tensor imaging and tract tracing techniques to determine and compare the pyramidal fibers from the primary motor and somatosensory system in humans and rhesus monkeys in vivo. The results demonstrate that the pyramidal systems of the human and monkey brain differ in their orientation at the level of the internal capsule, whereas track orientations in the gyrus and brainstem appear similar. In the monkey internal capsule the somatotopic arrangement of PT fibers from the upper and lower extremities form an angle with the left-right axis of 146°± 23° (n=4). Thus, fibers from lateral areas of the gyrus are located more anterior-medial to fibers from medial cortical areas. In contrast, in humans the angle is only 50° ± 16° (n=9) yielding a more anterior-lateral orientation of PT fibers along the short axis of the internal capsule. These species dependencies may possibly be due to structural constraints of the smaller and differently shaped monkey brain.