Humanity's Cognitive Supercharger, the Cerebral Cortex, Found in Worms...

Atheistextremist
atheistSilver Member
Atheistextremist's picture
Posts: 5064
Joined: 2009-09-17
User is offlineOffline
Humanity's Cognitive Supercharger, the Cerebral Cortex, Found in Worms...

 

Brainy Worms: Scientists Uncover Counterpart of Cerebral Cortex in Marine Worms

ScienceDaily (Sep. 3, 2010) — Our cerebral cortex, or pallium, is a big part of what makes us human: art, literature and science would not exist had this most fascinating part of our brain not emerged in some less intelligent ancestor in prehistoric times. But when did this occur and what were these ancestors? Unexpectedly, scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany, have now discovered a true counterpart of the cerebral cortex in an invertebrate, a marine worm.


Their findings are published in Cell, and give an idea of what the most ancient higher brain centres looked like, and what our distant ancestors used them for.

It has long been clear that, in evolutionary terms, we share our pallium with other vertebrates, but beyond that was mystery. This is because even invertebrates that are clearly related to us -- such as the fish-like amphioxus -- appear to have no similar brain structures, nothing that points to a shared evolutionary past. But EMBL scientists have now found brain structures related to the vertebrate pallium in a very distant cousin -- the marine ragworm Platynereis dumerilii, a relative of the earthworm -- which last shared an ancestor with us around 600 million years ago.

"Two stunning conclusions emerge from this finding," explains Detlev Arendt, who headed the study: "First, the pallium is much older than anyone would have assumed, probably as old as higher animals themselves. Second, we learn that it came out of 'the blue' -- as an adaptation to early marine life in Precambrian oceans."

To uncover the evolutionary origins of our brain, EMBL scientist Raju Tomer, who designed and conducted the work, took an unprecedentedly deep look at the regions of Platynereis dumerilii's brain responsible for processing olfactory information -- the mushroom-bodies. He developed a new technique, called cellular profiling by image registration (PrImR), which is the first to enable scientists to investigate a large number of genes in a compact brain and determine which are turned on simultaneously. This technique enabled Tomer to determine each cell's molecular fingerprint, defining cell types according to the genes they express, rather than just based on their shape and location as was done before.

"Comparing the molecular fingerprints of the developing ragworms' mushroom-bodies to existing information on the vertebrate pallium," Arendt says, " it became clear that they are too similar to be of independent origin and must share a common evolutionary precursor."

This ancestral structure was likely a group of densely packed cells, which received and processed information about smell and directly controlled locomotion. It may have enabled our ancestors crawling over the sea floor to identify food sources, move towards them, and integrate previous experiences into some sort of learning.

"Most people thought that invertebrate mushroom-bodies and vertebrate pallium had arisen independently during the course of evolution, but we have proven this was most probably not the case," says Tomer. Arendt concludes: "The evolutionary history of our cerebral cortex has to be rewritten."

 

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100902121051.htm

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


jimmy.williamson
Superfan
jimmy.williamson's picture
Posts: 249
Joined: 2010-08-07
User is offlineOffline
See this one I'm not even

See this one I'm not even going to touch.


Atheistextremist
atheistSilver Member
Atheistextremist's picture
Posts: 5064
Joined: 2009-09-17
User is offlineOffline
Lol.

 

It's pretty simple - the cerebral cortex is our higher brain - the part of the mind we use for higher thinking. We use it to conceptualise. It's what the theist would argue sets us apart from all other creatures on the planet.

However, these wee worms have one, too. It's a very pleasing discovery.

 

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


jimmy.williamson
Superfan
jimmy.williamson's picture
Posts: 249
Joined: 2010-08-07
User is offlineOffline
That's nice to see things

That's nice to see things are continually advancing in our discoveries.
I'm still waiting on the day that something jumps off the page. You know the thing that will take out all the links and get the attention of all the half hearthed theist. There are so many theist that are on the fence, only theist for the small chance that their right. When that happens and atheist out number theist say 3 to 1. Then maybe we can get past all the ridiculus religious rules in this world.

Throughout human history as our species has faced the frighten terrorizing fact that we do not know who we are and where we are going; it has been the authority (the political, the religious, and the educational authorities) who have attempted to comfort us. By giving us order, rules, and regulation. Informing or forming in our minds their view of reality. To think for yourself you must question these authorities. THINK FOR YOURSELF…