Saturday, August 13, 2011

medulla oblongata -- animated!!!

Okay, how much do I love the internet?? This is FREE.

The red area is the medulla oblongata.

Images are generated by Life Science Databases(LSDB).
[CC-BY-SA-2.1-jp (],
via Wikimedia Commons

Per the Wiki:
"The medulla oblongata is the lower half of the brainstem.

The medulla contains the cardiac, respiratory, vomiting and vasomotor centers and deals with autonomic, involuntary functions, such as breathing, heart rate and blood pressure."

"The medulla transmits signals between the spinal cord and the higher parts of the brain" (Encyclopedia Brittanica)

So, the next time you are, shall we say,
"rejecting" your last meal,
you feel like a helpless, base,
sweaty mammal-creature,

it's because you are.

The medulla oblongata made you do it.

You are one in a long line of helpless vertebrates
trying not to die
from some horrible thing you ate
in the simplest, most direct of ways.


The m.o. is involved in basic physical sensations,
movement, complex issues like
"am I still standing upright?"
"...heart beating?"

Doesn't get a lot more basic than that.

In other words,
as my husband says upon occasion,
imitating a cave man,


This is actually above the level of discourse possible
with an m.o. Well above.

So, perhaps you could think of your time
in the involuntary throws of chemical rejection
as bonding with your ancestors
from tens of thousands of years ago.

Probably a lot longer than that.

And be grateful that today we better understand what can make us sick (say, for example, a mass produced fast food burger made from 1400 different cows?) than our caveman ancestors could (tho' they had precious little access to mass-produced food), so are better equipped to avoid such things.

Whether we do it, or not. =)

In celebration, I think I'm gonna to eat some yogurt
with fresh fruit and toasted walnuts.
And another 10,000 cherries.

Photo by Peggy Greb for the United States Department of Agriculture
Agricultural Research Service


Summer fruit good.




P.S. DING DING DING DING!!! Congratulations to Laura K and Emma for smarty pants answers to this vocabulary quiz, and to Cindy for cracking me up (I bet she knew, too, just was overcome by her desire to amuse, thank heaven =) ). I highly recommend visiting the vocab quiz comments to see their answers. =)


  1. I was feeling very smug about being somewhat right. Then I linked back to see what Laura had to say. Neither Laura nor I have comments there but your answer to us is. Maybe we weren't so smart after all.

  2. @Emma: Uh, that's because I'm a total idiot. Had SAVED the comments, intending to post them, but OBVIOUSLY forgot. Thanks SO much for your kind heads up. Please resume that richly deserved smug feeling. I will go pay penance by, oh, I don't know, sweeping up dead bugs?



Cool people write inside rectangles....