3-D Sensory and Motor homunculus models at the Natural History Museum, London

Our Manipulation Core is a novel structure, and to operate it, we needed a new, dedicated brain. We call this new brain the Neo-Cortex, whose structure overlays the sensory processing neurology we share with mammals and their antecedents. The Neo-Cortex is primarily dedicated to the range of processes involved in manipulating the hands – creating/visualizing, planning, and carrying out a task. This tight correlation between the hands and Neo-Cortex is clarified in the image of the Homunculus, illustrating the ratios of our neurology dedicated to specific physiology. In this illustration, it is easy to see the dominance of the hands and mouth. The Homunculus diagrams a subset of the Neo-Cortex called the Sensorimotor Cortex, which implements intentional actions. The rest of the Neo-Cortex is involved in creating and planning tasks for this neurology to implement.

The dominance of the hands and mouth in the Sensorimotor Cortex suggest that its function is to bring energy and nutrients into the body. From an evolutionary perspective, this is expected. It can be inferred that all of the complex functions of the Neo-Cortex are extensions of this drive for sustenance. These mechanisms have been so successful for our species that we now apply our Manipulation Cores in abstract ways exceedingly removed from this essential function. There are many perspectives on this transition, with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs being one of the more well known. Underlying these complex expressions of our Manipulation Core are the reflexes and drives for nourishment, upon which our more complex motor functions rest. Babkin Palmomental is one description of an aspect of these innate motor responses.

The evolution of the hands as a non-specialized interface to manipulate tools opened the possibility that more brain processing power was handy. Whereas the species from which we descended had no utility for cognitive processing power beyond the efficient application of their species specialization, our species found that more processing power extended the range of tools and their successful application. Early in this evolution, our antecedents found that by some clever origami, they could fold the surface of their brains, thereby vastly increasing the surface area that supported neural connectivity. This, combined with increasing the size of the head to the maximum that our species can physically reproduce, created the immense intellectual achievements with which we surround ourselves. We now continue this progression with our thinking machines and emerging artificial intelligence. A discussion of some qualities of this constructed reality is in this paper on the BUILT ENVIRONMENT.

/A higher-level function requires suppression of lower-level functions. The highest level function of tool use requires the suppression of many layers of lower-level functions.