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 ratsNews, “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.