Divisions of the Brain

The brain can be separated into phylogenetic (through evolution) and embryological (through development) divisions. Below are two tables that show how the brain can be divided - do not get caught up in the terminology - these are just names for specific areas of the brain. "Divisions of the Nervous System" discusses the functions of many of these areas.

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Divisions of the Brain
Major Division Subdivision Structures
Prosencephalon
(Forebrain)
Telencephalon Neocortex; Basal Ganglia; Amygdala; Hippocampus; Lateral Ventricles
Diencephalon Thalamus; Hypothalamus; Epithalamus; Third Ventricle
Mesencephalon
(Midbrain)
Mesencephalon Tectum; Tegmentum; Cerebral Aqueduct
Rhombencephalon
(Hindbrain)
Metencephalon Cerebellum; Pons; Fourth Ventricle
Myelencephalon Medulla Oblongata; Fourth Ventricle

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Not enough detail for you? Here is another table showing more brain structures and their associated divisions. The roman numerals (I through XII) refer to the cranial nerves.

Divisions of the Brain
External
Landmarks
Internal
Landmarks
Major Nuclei Major Fiber Tracts Ventricles
Telencephalon

Gyri and sulci

Olfactory Nerve (I)

Cerebral Cortex

Amygdala

Hippocampus

Basal Ganglia

  • Caudate nucleus
  • Putamen
  • Globus Pallidus
  • Claustrum
Internal Capsule

Corpus Callosum

Anterior Commissure

Lateral Ventricles

Interventricular Foramen

Diencephalon

Infundibulum

Optic Nerve (II)

Optic Chiasm

Mammillary bodies

Thalamus

Hypothalamus

Fornix

Mammillo-thalamic Tract

Third Ventricle
Mesencephalon (Midbrain)

Superior Colliculus

Inferior Colliculus

Cerebral Peduncles

Oculomotor Nerve (III)

Trochlear Nerve (IV)

Substantia Nigra

Central Gray

Red Nucleus

Crus Cerebri Cerebral Aqueduct
Metencephalon

Pons

Cerebellum

Trigeminal Nerve (V)

Abducens Nerve (VI)

Facial Nerve (VII)

Vestibulocochlear Nerve (VIII)

Pontine Nuclei

Deep Cerebellar Nuclei

Fornix

Mammillo-thalamic Tract

Fourth Ventricle
Myelencephalon

Medulla

Glossopharyngeal Nerve (IX)

Vagus Nerve (X)

Spinal Accessory Nerve (XI)

Hypoglossal Nerve (XII)

Inferior Olive Pyramids

Mammillo-thalamic Tract

Fourth Ventricle

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BACK TO: Exploring the Nervous System Table of Contents

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