Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Neuroscience puzzle: A rat with almost no brain functioned for years like a normal rat

arroba Email

The researchers had no idea how strange their old lab rat was until, in a routine procedure in a study of aging, they scanned its head:

On further investigation, researchers found that all brain functions had been exported to tiny, unexpected areas that were not affected by the massive fluid buildup. For example,

“In R222’s case, he says, the processing of visual input “was distributed over much of the remaining brain, and the same thing with smell and touch.” What at first the scans suggested to be a brainless rat was actually a rat with a brain that had been pushed out of the way and flattened like a pancake—and kept working. – Arria Bracci, “This Rat Gives ‘No-brainer’ a Whole New Meaning” at News@northeastern (January 22, 2020)”

Neuroscientists call this neuroplasticity but they don’t find many examples as dramatic as this one. And it raises a number of questions.

A skeptic might say, but surely R222 was a zombie rat, right, and somehow no one had noticed the problem (which probably developed early in its life). Well the team ran psychological tests on R222 compared to other rats

News, “An old rat with no brain raises some very interesting questions” at Mind Matters News

Apparently it was not a zombie.

The more we learn about nature, using new technology, the less we KNOW!, in the way we used to.

Yes, but the amount plasticity that the brain shows here is amazing. Not to mention the rat nearly had no brain This is amazing on many levels, and very up lifting for those suffering with TBIs that your brain has the ability to adapt and change like that AaronS1978
Neuroplasticity has been understood for decades. This shouldn't have been a surprise. Brain function is 'holographic'. When there's less white matter, there's less flexibility but not necessarily less ordinary function. Rats aren't generally tested for understanding humor and metaphor, so this type of rigidity wouldn't show up anyway. polistra
Well, Es58 at 1, if the vast majority of rats have superfluous brains, how would be account for it? News
How much brain should it take to behave like a rat? es58

Leave a Reply