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Compare Brains

Compare Brain and Body Sizes

Compare Brain Structures- Slices and Slides

The Neuron- Up Close and Personal

The Question of Intelligence




Directional Terms

Rostral/ Anterior ---> Head or front end
Caudal/ Posterior ---> Tail or hind end
Dorsal ---> Back or top side
Ventral ---> Belly or bottom side

Lateral ---> away from the midline
Medial ---> toward the midline
Proximal ---> closer
Distal ---> farther away

Three directional planes exist in the brain: rostral/caudal, dorsal/ventral, and medial/lateral. When sectioning (cutting) the brain, which planes are visible is determined by the type of section. In the sagittal section (which is made parallel to the midline, dorsal to ventral) the rostral/caudal and dorsal/ventral planes can be seen. In the coronal or cross section (made perpendicular to the midline, dorsal to ventral) the medial/lateral and dorsal/ventral planes can be seen.

There are numerous specific parts of the brain that we could name and explore. The following is a list of structures within the four basic subdivisions of the brain:

Telencephalon: cerebral cortex, corpora striata (caudate nucleus, internal capsule, putamen), and rhinencephalon (olfactory brain, e.g., olfactory bulb, hippocampus, amygdala, septal region, and cingulate cortex)
Diencephalon: thalamus, hypothalamus, pineal gland, and posterior lobe of the pituitary (a migrated portion of the hypothalamus)

Mesencephalon: corpora quadrigemia (tectum--inferior and superior colliculi), tegmentum

Metencephalon: cerebellum, pons
Myelencephalon: medulla oblongata

Brain Stem: pons, medulla, spinal cord.