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Cerebral Cortex

The cerebral cortex describes the outer part of the forebrain. It often is referred to simply as the “cortex” or the “neocortex” (new cortex). The cortex means “bark,” as in tree bark, in Latin. Much like the bark of a tree, the cerebral cortex is a layer of cells that covers the forebrain. The cortex is made up of four to six layers of gray matter (cells) and takes up 80% of the volume of the human brain. It has an area of about 2,500 cm2 but is only about 3 mm thick. These layers of cells are wrinkled in order for such a large volume to fit inside the skull. The wrinkles produce ridges and grooves on the surface of the cortex. A ridge ...

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