Colorful Mollusks hold Revealed A Startling Neurological Phenomenon

In Brief

Scientists are finding that similarities in brain anatomy may conceal differences in neural circuits. This may be a way species preserve key behaviors despite evolutionary progress.

Mollusks “Thinking” Differently

While animals may act similarly, the brain patterns they consume to achieve these identical behaviors may vastly differ, even when the animals hold closely related brains, researchers from Georgia State University hold discovered. This finding challenges basic ideas approximately the relationship between neurology and behavior. The scientists hold not yet unraveled the cause for this, but this research shows that key animal behaviors can survive evolution processes that affect the brain.

The studies focused on two different species of nudibranch, gastropod mollusks similar to sea slugs that exist in many shapes and colors around the world. The team studied two species: the lion’s mane nudibranch and the giant nudibranch. Both species swim in the same way — by flattening their bodies and then flexing them from side to side.

Image Credit: Tentaculata/WikiCommonsImage Credit: Tentaculata/WikiCommons[/caption]This shared form of propulsion isn’t every bit of they hold in common. The species also both hold simple nervous systems populated with similar neurons, which appear to be located in similar positions. Before this research was conducted, biologists assumed that the neural circuits governing movement in these species were the same — but the team from Georgia State has proven that they’re not.After the researchers observed different brain patterns in the two nudibranch, they blocked the giant nudibranch’s typical neural pathway for swimming and instead stimulated its brain to simulate the neural connections in the hooded nudibranch. The giant nudibranch was able to swim again, but now used its neurons the way the hooded nudibranch did. This confirmed that the two different brain patterns did indeed produce identical behaviors.

current Ideas approximately Neurology

These results propose that the brain can find current ways to preserve critical behaviors even as the nervous system evolves. The scientists are not certain how this process occurs, or what led to the peculiar case of the two nudibranch species, but they blueprint to retain exploring this phenomenon.

Deep Ocean Dwellers [INFOGRAPHIC]
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“Perhaps some of the neurons in one or the other species hold taken on additional functions that provide selective pressure to alter the ancestral connectivity,” the researchers suggested in their paper.

While this may simply be an example of random genetic diversity, it could also provide insight into our studies of the human brain. At the very least this research demonstrates the mystery that is the nervous system, and that even cases that appear simple at first glance can hold complexities we would hold never imagined just beneath the surface.

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