How Scientists are Looking
to the Anatomy of the
Human Body to
Make Smarter and
by Morgan Berry
As an undergraduate psychology student, I am currently struggling through
one of the tougher major requirements: the dreaded Physiological Psychology
course. Essentially an anatomy course focused exclusively on the nervous system,
Physio Psych (as we call it for short) delves into the minutest of the minutia of the
My study sessions are spent trying to commit to memory the difference
between the inferior colliculus and the superior colliculus, the precentral gyrus and
the postcentral gyrus, and the tectum and the
tegmentum — apparently, name variation was
not on the agenda when scientists were naming
the parts of the body.
As I stare at diagrams of the brain, the one
question that keeps plaguing me is, "Why on
earth do the body parts look like they do?" For
example, why does the cerebellum — Latin for
"little brain" — look so much like, well, a little
brain? Why does the hippocampus look so
much like a seahorse?
For every single body part, the texture,
size, shape, color, and orientation evolved over
millions of years for a specific purpose, and
the variety that emerged is simply astounding.
It is no wonder that today's leading artificial
intelligence scientists are taking a cue from the body as well, aiming to mimic the
natural systems humans possess in order to enhance their capabilities.
The hippocampus gets its name because of its
shape, which some people think looks like a
seahorse (in Greek mythology, Hippocampus
was the name of a monster-like half horse,
half fish). See the resemblance?
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