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homunculus

Pronunciation: ho-mungk'yu-lus

Definition:

  1. An exceedingly minute body that, according to the views of development held by some medical scientists of the 16th and 17th centuries, was contained in a sperm or an oocyte. From this preformed but infinitely small structure, the human body was thought to be developed.
  2. The distorted figure of a human superimposed on an illustration of the surface of the brain; used to demonstrate those portions of the body supplied by the various motor and sensory cortical regions.

[L. dim. of homo, man]

See Also: preformation theory, animalcule

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© Copyright 2017 Wolters Kluwer. All Rights Reserved. Review Date: Sep 19, 2016.
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