Thursday, September 02, 2010

Humanlike brain structures identified in marine worm

I guess a worm would say that wormlike brain structures have been found in humans!

By Jennifer Viegas
updated 9/2/2010 12:52:05 PM ET

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Brain structures directly related to the human brain have just been identified in a marine ragworm, according to a paper published in the latest issue of the journal Cell.

The discovery means that the origins of the human brain can now be traced back at least 600 million years, when we last shared a common ancestor with this species, Platynereis dumerilii, a relative of the common earthworm.

"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."

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