As every international supervillain knows, meticulous planning is vital to the success of any diabolical scheme – although James Bond’s latest nemesis clearly hadn’t done all his homework before taking on MI6’s finest, and left a major flaw in his plan to defeat the famous spy.
The error was recently pointed out by St. Michael’s Hospital neuroscientist Dr. Michael Cusimano, who published a commentary on the film "Spectre" in the journal Nature, explaining that Ernst Stavro Blofeld, played by Christoph Waltz, clearly doesn’t know his neuroanatomy.
In an attempt to erase Bond’s ability to memorize faces, Blofeld cruelly tells his victim that he intends to drill into his lateral fusiform gyrus. While he is correct in identifying this as the region of the brain responsible for recognizing faces, he then places the drill in the wrong spot, and (spoiler alert!) had Bond not managed to escape, would have actually drilled into his mastoid process, where the neck muscles attach to the temporal bone.
According to Cusimano, this would not have had the desired effect, but would probably have caused a massive hemorrhage or stroke, and may well have resulted in death. While it’s unlikely that Blofeld would have been too upset by this, Cusimano said in a statement that had the villain been a student of his, “he would surely have failed his neuroanatomy.”
In spite of Blofeld’s inability to tell his gyrus from his mastoid, Cusimano said that his plan could in theory have worked, since it is possible to impair people’s ability to recognize faces by damaging certain parts of the brain. This may lead to a condition known as prosopagnosia, or face blindness, which sometimes occurs following major brain injuries or strokes.
Top image credit: Zadi Diaz via Flickr. CC BY-SA 2.0