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On the Testes and Buttocks of the Brain 

On the Testes and Buttocks of the Brain
On the Testes and Buttocks of the Brain

Marco Catani

and Stefano Sandrone

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date: 18 May 2021

In this chapter, Vesalius displays his most inventive use of figurative similitudes. He is describing the small rounded protuberances at the posterior surface of the brainstem. To Vesalius these structures provided a mere supportive function, just like the corpus callosum (Chapter 5). They prevented the collapse of a passage connecting the third to the fourth cerebral ventricles. It was an incredibly important job, because for the Flemish anatomist this was the most vital passage in the human brain, the point where the animal spirit could flow to the peripheral nerves and control movement. Nowadays we know that the function of these structures is quite different. While the superior colliculi exist for visual processing, our buttocks, or inferior colliculi, specialize in processing sounds.

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