Foot artists have a unique and handy leg-up – ‘toe maps’ in the brain
Painters born without arms have been found to develop a mental map of each toe - so, are we all born with this trait?
Artists who paint with their feet because they were born without arms have individualised areas of the brain assigned to each of their toes, a trait not found in handed people, scientists have reported.
Their paper, published in the journal Cell Reports, raises intriguing questions about brain plasticity early in life: are humans born with so-called toe maps that most lose as a result of not using their feet for intricate tasks because they wear shoes?
Or, are we born without this trait but develop it if the body is used in particularly dexterous ways?..