The Brain Structure of The Pale Orc

July 23, 2014

(This is a little late because of technical difficulties, but better now than never, right?)

For those of you that are familiar with the Lord of the Rings movies, you probably remember those ugly creatures called “Orcs.” And for anyone who’s seen The Hobbit, you’ll remember the giant orc leader named Azog, the “Pale Orc.” In general, orcs are roughly the size of humans, but Azog is a good three feet taller and much bulkier. Azog, like all orcs, is trained to be a predator. He has little to no empathy, a small range of emotions, and great fighting capability.

To jump right in, I’ll first talk about the size of Azog’s brain. Since he stands upright and shares a majority of physical human qualities, I believe that his brain would be the same shape as humans’, only much larger, due to his height and large skull.

While orcs do not have their own language, they speak a mixture of phrases and commands from different regions of Middle Earth. Thus, I believe that regions of the forebrain that ivolve language, along with his cerebral cortex, would be smaller in Azog than that of humans. Because while Azog can still communicate with other orcs, their communication is less developed than the average human.

Azog can kill without remorse, and never shows a shred of empathy in any scene. The only emotion one senses from him is anger and hatred. He has no motivation to be angry other than the fact that he was born to be a cold-blooded predator. Because of his very undeveloped emotional response, I believe that Azog’s prefrontal cortex would be very small, as it controls things like empathy, emotional control, and insight. Along with this, his frontal lobe as a whole would also be slightly smaller than humans’, because of his lack of emotions, reasoning, and problem solving (he needs some problem solving skills to be a leader of orcs, but nowhere near as much as humans develop problem solving.)

What traits does any predator need? Good sight, hearing, and smelling, of course. This leads me to believe that Azog has large olfactory bulbs for smelling, a large inferior colliculus for hearing, and a large occipital lobe for sight. With these three senses, Azog is able to track other species of Middle Earth when in battle.

Finally, Azog is trained to fight and kill, and he does it well. This leads me to believe that he would have a cerebellum larger than humans’, because he needs more motor control when in battle, which he is constantly involved in.


The Brain of Zazu from “The Lion King”

July 23, 2014



For this assignment, I chose Zazu, from the movie and musical “The Lion King”. Zazu is a Red-billed hornbill, a type of bird. The basic structure of his brain would be similar to those of other birds with a few differences.

I would think that Zazu’s encephalization quotient would be higher than the EQ of other birds, because his intelligence and level of brain function are much higher than other birds.

Most of the differences in Zazu’s brain would be found in the cerebrum. His cerebrum would be larger than the cerebrum of other birds. More specifically, the frontal and temporal lobes would be bigger. The frontal lobe control emotions, and since Zazu is able to process and display emotions, his frontal lobe would be large. Zazu is also competent with reasoning and problem solving, both of which the frontal lobe controls. The temporal lobe controls speech, and Zazu is a talking bird, so his temporal lobe would be larger than the temporal lobe of other birds. Zazu’s amygdala, in the temporal lobe, would also be more developed because it controls feelings of fear, and Zazu is often nervous and panics easily.

The cerebellum would also be more advanced than other birds, as it controls movement and he is able to move his wings in ways that normal birds can’t, such as crossing his arms.


The Brain of Randall Boggs from Monsters Inc.

July 22, 2014

Randall Boggs, the most despicable character in Monsters Inc. is known for his intelligence and disguise. This is one of the reasons I chose him as my character for this assignment. Because the size of his brain is unknown, it is not possible to tell what his encephalization quotient value would be. However, I presume it would be higher than that of the other monsters.


Randall’s intelligence would have to be due to a number of factors within his brain. I believe, if it were possible to examine the brain, its cerebral cortex would resemble that of a humans’. It would be very large and wrinkled to allow for maximized surface area. His frontal cortex, for higher-level thinking would be much larger than your average monster.

As Randall must always be aware of his surroundings in order to stalk Sully and Mike, his olfactory bulbs and optic tectum must be highly evolved. He also must be able to blend into his surroundings using a highly intricate camouflage technique. This would involve an intensive series of synaptic connections within the brain to allow signals to be passed between brain and skin.

Randall must also be able to move efficiently and snake-like. To do this he must have well-evolved motor utilization skills. He stands in an upright position, but his head does not sit at much of an angle from his neck and front body. His brain stem would not be on the lower portion of the brain as it is in humans. It would be behind the brain like in a lizard’s or mouse’s brain.

The Brain of Sully from Monsters Inc.

July 22, 2014


As Sully is a monster that isn’t necessarily closely related to any animal, I have assumed that his brain will have the basic structure of the brain of a human.

His brain stem will be very flexible to allow him to stand upright and on all fours while scaring.

The main differences would be seen in the olfactory bulbs and the optic nerve. The olfactory bulbs will be much larger than what you would find in the average human brain, due to the fact that he is a monster and would need to have a heightened sense of smell to avoid parents and to be sure he is about to scare the right child (no one over the age of 12 or under the age of 2).  Most characteristics of being able to “see in the dark” are found within the eyes themselves, such as the tapetum lucidum. This being said, I have drawn the optic nerve to be larger than normal as well, so that more information could travel through and be processed faster. This would help with avoiding humans that he doesn’t need to come in contact with, as well.

All of the other structures of the brain would be that of a human, as he behaves like a human. In the movie they drive cars, have many languages, have social and romantic relationships, and attend school.


The brain of “The Brain”

July 22, 2014

The Brain”, from the popular  animated TV show “Pinky and the Brain”, is my chosen character for this assignment. His abrupt nature and determination to achieve world domination makes him an interesting character to explore (not to mention his abnormally large brain for a mouse, which would make his encephalization quotient value exceptionally high!)

His highly intelligent, strategic plans involving complex ideas suggests that Brain is likely to have a very large Cerebral cortex, since as well as regulating personality (of which Brain certainly does not lack), is also responsible for planning and organisation. Like humans, the cerebral cortex is likely to be the origin of Brain’s wild thought process! With this in mind, it seems obvious that his cerebral cortex is more likely to resemble that of a human rather than that of a mouse, since his language ability is second to none. Damage to his prefrontal cortex would be detrimental to his problem solving ability.

The most obvious difference between Brain and your average mouse is the fact that he stands upright, therefore explaining that he is  likely to have a highly developed brain stem which is concerned with the maintenance of balance and posture. His heightened sense of smell with being a mouse would also make his olfactory region rather large in comparison to humans. Lastly, his limbic system is likely to be underdeveloped, or perhaps smaller than what is considered normal, since Brain appears to have a lack of emotion.


An Look Inside the Brain of The Cookie Monster

July 22, 2014



Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 2.55.41 PMCompared to the brain of a human:

1. the section for higher level thinking (frontal cortex) is smaller – cookie monster is very simple minded and only sees one side to every story. There is nothing beyond what he can see in mind.

2.  the olfactory area is larger because his well-being greatly depends on a constant supply of cookies,which requires an acute sense of smell for them so he can find many kinds from various distances.

3. the visual area is about the same size – cookie monster must be able to distinguish cookies from other round and circular objects. This part of his brain is always at work.cookiemonster

4. the section for comprehension of written and spoken language is quite a bit smaller; “C is for cookie that’s good enough for me…”

5. the sensory area that receives signals from the muscles and skin is bigger. Cookie monster is always on the move and is very jittery and spastic.

6. the area of emotions is extremely large. Cookie monster really soaks up the energy of his environment and has a lot to express at any given moment. All his actions are driven by his mood and his hunger for cookies.

7. the area for muscles of speech is small because cookie monster is not articulate

8. the area for eye movement is a little bit bigger because his eyes can rotate almost 360 degress and they are always jiggling about.

9. the area for somatosensory association is a lot smaller because cookie monster cannot properly evaluate the objects around him often.


The brain of Maleficent

July 22, 2014

For this assignment, I have chosen a Disney villain that demonstrates higher-level thinking abilities. Maleficent is the green, horned fairy seen in the popular children’s fairytale, Sleeping Beauty. She is poised and possesses unmeasurable amounts of anger.

Since she is an evil fairy, Maleficent would possess a cerebral cortex relatively larger and more highly developed than humans. She has the ability to utilize her magic to conjure spells and recreate herself, this leads one to believe that her need for a larger cerebral cortex increases. Maleficent can also fly, meaning she will need highly developed and accurate motor skills for navigation.

But when discussing the lobes of the brain, Maleficent’s lobes will be sized differently because her motives vary quite greatly from humans. Take for instance the frontal lobe, this will be relatively larger when compared to humans. Maleficent needs the ability to think more efficiently than her opponents. The temporal lobe found in the brain of Maleficent may be the same size of as the frontal lobe. As a villain, she will need an acute sense of hearing in order to be well prepared. The occipital lobe will also be larger than that of humans, Maleficent requires an accurate visual processing system. And, the parietal lobe may be the same size of that in humans. Maleficent relies heavily on her magic and creepy persona to intimidate others. Her emotional response is not expected to be highly developed.

s may be smaller than the one found in humans. As mentioned before, Maleficent is an evil fairy, with the ability to use magic. Even when she transforms into a dragon, she will not need highly developed sense of smell to defeat her enemies.




Brian from “Family Guy”

July 22, 2014

Brian from “Family Guy”

A large cerebellum: He walks both upright and on four legs. He is also known to run around. This large Cerebellum is useful for him to keep his balance between his different walking styles.

Cerebrum:  As you would expect in a dog, or a human, Brian’s cerebrum is the largest part of his brain. BUT the size of lobes in his cerebrum differ from each other. His frontal lobe is the biggest of the 4 main lobes (frontal, parietal, occipital, and temporal). The frontal is used for reasoning, planning, parts of speech, movement, emotions, and problem solving. If you watch Family Guy, you know that Brian is the “smart one” of the show. He writes books, advises politicians, shares his opinions on philosophies, and just about everything in between.


Limbic System: In Brian’s limbic system, he has one area that stands out. His hippocampus in much larger than a normal brain’s. The hippocampus is responsible for some learning and memory.


Brain Stem and Spinal cord: Brian has a fairly normal brain stem and spinal cord, but for one main difference. Brian’s spinal cord is flexible and can be in an up-right standing position and an angled dog-like position. This unique adaptation helps him to be both human and dog like on “Family Guy”


brian from family guy

The Brain Structure of a House Elf

July 22, 2014

For this assignment, I have chosen to describe the brain of a house elf according to its characteristics. An elf is a creature that has been interpreted in many different ways in stories, so I have decided to focus on the type of house elf that appears in the Harry Potter Series.

A house elf is said to be a very loyal creature; they are unconditionally obedient to their masters and do not leave their masters’ side unless they are presented with an article of clothing. This characteristic leads me to believe that a house elf’s cerebral cortex would be very large, a dominant structure in its brain. This creature is not a human, so its brain would not be as large or as developed as a human’s. However, the cerebral cortex would be relatively big in its brain , because the house elf is able to display such a high level of emotion, not unlike a human’s. The fact that the house elf is able to do its own magic adds to its need for a bigger cerebral cortex.

Within its cerebral cortex, I would think that the parietal lobe would be a bit different from a human’s, because the house elf is able to withstand much more pain. Pain travels through the thalamus to the parietal lobe in the cerebral cortex. When the house elf punishes itself through self-infliction, the pain receptors send signals to the cerebral cortex. Due to the elf being able to absorb so much pain and still function normally, I believe that a difference in structure is bound to be present.

The house elf is used as a servant to get work done, clearly proving its mobility. Furthermore, a house elf is able to apparate, or instantaneously travel from one location to another. These actions show the obviously developed cerebellum, as the house elf is able to carry out complex movements.

The olfactory bulbs in the brain of the house elf would not be more prominent than a human’s is in the brain, as it does not require a particularly stronger than normal sense of smell to carry out its daily activities.

Serpent brain structure

July 22, 2014

The Elbert-Gong-sea-serpent is an oceanic reptile of huge proportions. It is as a small cruise ship, approximately 700 feet, with a body 30 feet thick. It is greenish-blue, scaly, and doesn’t have arms or legs or anything. It can be found half a mile below the surface of the ocean. It lives near the equator. Its diet consists mainly of wooden boats. Now that most boats are being constructed out of metal, the sea serpent population has experienced massive decline.

To construct this animal’s brain, I started with an approximate combination of a shark’s and a reptile’s brain structure. My reasoning was that since the sea serpent resembles a snake, its brain would share the most similarities with the snake brain; however, in order for it to swim it would also share some characteristics with the shark. Sharks and other swimming animals have a relatively large cerebellum to maintain precise balance and body control in a complicated 3-D environment. Therefore, the serpent has a similarly large cerebellum. For both the serpent and the shark, body control is especially important: if you stop swimming, you’ll just automatically sink. Like the reptile and the shark, the sea serpent also has long and prominent olfactory bulbs. Smell is quite important to the serpent– it needs to be able to detect food from long distances and, being in the water, it cannot rely so much on sight. It also needs good hearing, since sound travels faster in water, thus, it has a large inferior colliculus (which can’t be seen).

The sea serpent also needs to have the instincts and intelligence of a deadly predator. It is not a clumsy hunter: despite its physical gifts, it needs to be stealthy in order to catch fast boats, and it needs a certain amount of reasoning/logic to understand how to overcome the intelligence of its prey. It needs to be able to interpret the sounds and smells of the ocean, differentiating food from not-food. Thus, it has a larger neocortex than most reptiles. Also, it can’t bask in the sun like a lizard, so it needs to be able to regulate its own body temperature. So, I couldn’t show this in the drawing, but it has a large hypothalamus.

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