A Brief Illustrated History of Neuroscience: Chapter I

The Brain

A Brief Illustrated History of Neuroscience: Chapter I



It is impossible to know who the first human being was that saw a brain, and what they felt when they saw it.

The Brain

Trepanned skulls have been found in numerous cultures around the world, that is to say, the skulls were intentionally drilled by another human being. In the trepanned skulls the bone grew back afterwards which this means that the person whose skull was trepanned survived the procedure and lived on.


The oldest trepanations date back from more than 10,000 years ago, so it’s possible that someone saw the brain all that time ago!


However, we cannot know with certainty if after a trepanation the brain was seen, because the nervous system has a series of covers that protect it. Therefore, our ancestors may have seen the meninges and not the brain directly.


Another problem is added: the first evidence of written language date from about 5,500 years ago. Therefore, there is no written record of everything that happened before that. Moreover, the actual spread of written language among men occurred hundreds of years later. Consequently, the oldest evidence of how man began discovering the nervous system is lost somewhere in time.


Fernando Martínez Benia – Neurosurgeon (@fermartneuro)

Luis Domitrovic – Neurosurgeon and Radiologist (@ladvic)

English Translation Proofreading: Alex Alamri – Neurosurgery Trainee (@AlexAlamri)

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Would you like to read more? [Here] is the second chapter of #BIHNC.

And you can see other cartoons and comics [here].

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