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Ultimate brain teaser is still how our gray matter functions

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25.05.2018

Visiting the National Museum of Nature and Science in Tokyo’s Ueno district to see an exhibition titled “The Body: Challenging the Mystery,” I came to a halt before an intriguing exhibit.

“A space alien?” I wondered. “Or a cyborg from some popular comic strip?”

It was a model of Penfield’s homunculus, a distorted representation of the human body. It certainly stood out among exhibits of real human organs, such as the heart and the kidneys.

Homunculus is Latin for “little man.”

The 3-D model on display is based on a map of the human brain drawn by Canadian neurosurgeon Wilder Penfield (1891-1976). The cortical homunculus has........

© The Asahi Shimbun