Human-Like Brain Found in Worm
For the first time, a structure comparable to our cerebral cortex has been found in an invertebrate — a humble marine ragworm.
- A marine ragworm has brain structures that researchers now believe are directly related to the human brain.
- Other invertebrates likely also possess the brain structures, which correspond to our cerebral cortex.
- The origins of the human brain can now be traced back at least 600 million years, when we last shared a common ancestor with marine ragworms.
- “This worm lives in self-made tubes, explores its environment actively for food, and shows signs of learning behavior,” lead author Raju Tomer told Discovery News. “Therefore, we thought this ragworm would be the ideal candidate to look for the counterparts of vertebrate higher brain centers in invertebrates.”
- “Our ultimate goal is to reconstruct and understand the evolution of brains in animals, to trace their neuronal composition and their function from the very beginning of animal evolution to something as complex as today’s human brain,” Arendt said.
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