Scientists have found that arthropods use the same brain systems as humans, and that they have similar nervous systems to those of humans.
The research was published today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
Arthropods are among the smallest creatures on Earth, and only the largest living creatures have developed brains large enough to carry out complex complex, complex behaviours.
But there is a big difference between arthropod brains and those of human brains.
Scientists in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Auckland have studied brain size, development and function in the nervous systems of arthropoderms.
They discovered that, compared to humans, arthropode brains are much smaller.
The study used MRI scanning and computer modelling to show that arthopods possess brain size comparable to that of a mouse.
“This means that arthrozoans do have very small brains, even though they are more than 100 times larger than humans,” Dr Tim Bremner, from the Department’s School of Physics, said.
“Our study shows that this is not because of any fundamental difference between the two brains.
Rather, it is the result of a process called plasticity.”
When a large number of neurons are activated in a brain, these cells then form a structure called the synapse, which is responsible for the transmission of information between neurons.
“Once activated, these synapses are connected to one another to form the network of synapses, which then send information to the brain.”
It is this network of neurons that we see in arthropodes.
“In this network, arthrozoids and humans have similar size, and these two brains also have similar sizes.”
In the study, the scientists used a technique called “deformation microscopy” to study the brains of the two species of arthrozonas.
“Using this technique, we were able to show how neurons were connected, and the shape of the synapses that they form, which are characteristic of the human nervous network,” Dr Brember said.
The researchers also found that brain size is highly correlated with development and intelligence.
“We found that the development of the arthropodon brain was more similar to that seen in humans than in other arthropids, and this could be because arthropodians have the ability to produce nerve cells that are similar to those in the brains found in other vertebrates.”
The results suggest that this ability may be used to regulate the brain and body in arthrozone brains.
“Dr Bremer said the discovery of the link between arthrozeod brains, brains and development could help us understand how the nervous system works in the animal kingdom.”
These findings could lead to a new way of studying brain development, and we are hopeful that their application will lead to better understanding of how arthropodyns develop,” he said.