Your Brain’s Balls

May 20 2011 @ 12:14pm

Jesse Bering revisits two historical papers on the history of neuroscience, which found that "that the human brain was once described as comprising its very own vulva, penis, testicles, buttocks, and even an anus":

René Descartes may have celebrated the pineal gland as the "seat of the soul," but for the less metaphysically minded van Diemerbroeck, as well as one of Descartes' contemporaries, the Danish physician Thomas Bartholin, that structure was more like a penis. This metaphor may have its roots, explain Olry and Haines, in the position of the gland above and between the brain's colliculi, which had already been compared with testicles (as, perhaps, the original "hanging brain").