Between the anterior median sulcus and the anterolateral sulcus
The region between the anterior median sulcus and the anterolateral sulcus is occupied by an elevation on either side called as the pyramid of medulla oblongata. This elevation is caused by the corticospinal tract.
In the lower part of the medulla some of these fibers cross each other thus obliterating the anterior median fissure. This is known as the decussation of the pyramids.
Some other fibers that originate from the anterior median fissure above the decussation of the pyramids and run laterally across the surface of the pons are known as the external arcuate fibers.
Between the anterolateral and posterolateral sulci
The region between the anterolateral and posterolateral sulci in the upper part of the medulla is marked by a swelling known as the olive.
It is caused by a large mass of gray matter known as the inferior olivary nucleus.
Between the posterior median sulcus and the posterolateral sulcus
The posterior part of the medulla between the posterior median sulcus and the posterolateral sulcus contains tracts that enter it from the posterior funiculus of the spinal cord. These are the fasciculus gracilis, lying medially next to the midline, and the fasciculus cuneatus, lying laterally.
These fasciculi end in rounded elevations known as the gracile and the cuneate tubercles. They are caused by masses of gray matter known as the nucleus gracilis and the nucleus cuneatus.
Just above the tubercles, the posterior aspect of the medulla is occupied by a triangular fossa, which forms the lower part of the floor of the fourth ventricle. The fossa is bounded on either side by the inferior cerebellar peduncle, which connects the medulla to the cerebellum.
The lower part of the medulla, immediately lateral to the fasciculus cuneatus, is marked by another longitudinal elevation known as the tuberculum cinereum.
It is caused by an underlying collection of gray matter known as the spinal nucleus of the trigeminal nerve.
The gray matter of this nucleus is covered by a layer of nerve fibers that form the spinal tract of the trigeminal nerve.
The base of the medulla is defined by the commissural fibers, crossing over from the ipsilateral side in the spinal cord to the contralateral side in the brain stem; below this is the spinal cord.
The medulla oblongata controls autonomic functions, and relays nerve signals between the brain and spinal cord. It is also responsible for controlling several major points and autonomic functions of the body:
respiration (via dorsal respiratory group and ventral respiratory group)
Blood to the medulla is supplied by a number of arteries.
Anterior spinal artery: The anterior spinal artery supplies the whole medial part of the medulla oblongata. A blockage (such as in a stroke) will injure the pyramidal tract, medial lemniscus, and the hypoglossal nucleus. This causes a syndrome called medial medullary syndrome.
Posterior inferior cerebellar artery (PICA): The posterior inferior cerebellar artery, a major branch of the vertebral artery, supplies the posterolateral part of the medulla, where the main sensory tracts run and synapse. (As the name implies, it also supplies some of the cerebellum.)
In the movie Fight Club, the unnamed main character reads a series of articles, written by the previous owner of the derelict house he and Tyler Durden now occupy, which are written from the first-person perspective of various human bodily organs. One such article reads "I am Jack's medulla oblongata. Without me, Jack could not regulate his heart rate, blood pressure, or breathing."
In The Waterboy, when asked why alligators are so aggressive, Adam Sandler's character responds "My Mama says that alligators are ornery because they got all them teeth and no toothbrush." Professor Colonel Sanders then informs him that aggressive behavior in alligators is caused by an enlarged Medulla oblongata.
In Futurama, in the episode 'Parasites lost', the worms leave Fry's body, after he threatens to sever the Medulla Oblongata, which would cause his death. The worms leave, but not until Fry had already done severe damage to his brain.
In Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius, in the episode 'Time is Money', Sheen says his favorite part of a video about brains is the part about the Medulla Oblongata, even though he doesn't know what it is, he likes the way it sounds.
In the movie Torment of the Wicked, the monster from the swamps eats a medulla oblongata off the head of Dr. Miles Poiinowski when he loses the challenge to cross the bridge to happy ville.