77. The Homunculus

Homunculus is a funny and distorted drawing of a small human figure, the sizes of whose limbs are proportional to their sensitivity. The more sensitive parts of the body are the hands, lips, face and tongue, since they have more receptors than the knees or the back.

In many ways, the sense of touch stands apart from the other senses. It is not localized in a specialized organ like the eyes and ears but covers the entire surface of the body.

There are two types of touch receptors–one of them dealing with touching sensation and the other dealing with pain and temperatures.

Touch receptors are nerve cells that have globular swellings on their terminals. Pain and temperature receptors have free nerve endings and lack the globular swellings on their terminals.

These receptors feed into the central nervous system in such a way that it can create a map. Our central nervous system preserves the map even to the level of the brain.

These receptors are not evenly distributed all over the body. More Cerebral cortex is used to process the feeling of touch from the more sensitive areas like the hands, lips, face and tongue.

When the figure of a man is drawn with his limbs proportional to the cerebral cortex used in the process of touch, we get this strange and distorted diagram called Homunculus.

More sensitive organs appear magnified and the less sensitive organs appear dimished giving rise to a funny manikin!

Visalakshi Ramani
dear children! you are sure to love my naughty poems.
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3 Responses to 77. The Homunculus

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  2. Peter Kinnon says:

    Hi Visalakshi

    I’m looking for a homunculus image for the cover of my upcoming latest book “The Intricacy Generator: Pushing Chemistry and Geometry Uphill”.

    I am looking for permission from the originator or assurance that it is in the public domain.

    Are you able to help?


    If of interest my previous works “Unusual Perspectives: An Escape From Tunnel Vision””The Goldilocks Effect: What Has Serendipity Ever Done For Us?” are free downloads in e-book formats from the “Unusual Perspectives” website.

    • Hi!
      I used Google Images for illustrating all my articles in all my blogs.
      I have had no problem till now. May be because I post in the Internet what is already on the Internet.
      Or may be because I am not making any money out of my writing. But publishing a book – which may become a best seller – may need more caution. I am sure you have ways and means of checking up whether the image is copy righted or not! And if it is, get the permission of the person who owns it. I wish you good luck in you all your ventures! 🙂

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