Siamese Cats and the Optic Chiasm

the sensitive motor

Anatomy constrains function | Function drives anatomy

As a general rule of thumb, information about the right side of the body is represented in the left side of the brain, and information about the left side is represented on the right.  This is called lateralization.  While that’s probably only mildly interesting to most people, it can help neurologists determine where a nervous system injury (eg, stroke) has occurred.

But to me, even though I study the motor and somatosensory systems where this holds (mostly) true, I think a cooler example of decussation (crossing from one side to the other) is the optic chiasm.   More than that, it’s a great example of what neuroanatomy can tell us about the body and how it functions in its environment.  Similarly, the anatomy and behavior of an animal tell us about its brain.

Before I get in to the details, I should cover a few terms: visual fields, monocular/binocular…

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