Ants evolved in order to begin to see
About 80 million years ago several species of tropical ants moved to live underground. Like many other underground animals, the ants lost his sight and part of the brain responsible for this foreign feeling. About 18 million years ago three species of ants, including Eciton hamatum, Eciton mexicanum Eciton and world, again climbed to the surface. Researchers from the University of Drechselschule found that the blind ants are able to restore sight and missing part of the brain.
“Into the darkness and back” — so scientists have named his article in the journal The Science of Nature. Study of view of ants is a highly complex process, as professionals are not easy to measure how insects see well. But there is evidence that the new visual system of ants is not simply a restoration of their former ability to see.
“We found anatomical hints that the new structure of their eyes is different from most other above-ground insects, — says the Professor Drechselschule Sean O’donnell. — The ants are not just restored the long-lost vision, but actually re-invented the mechanisms of its work.”
Changes in the brain of the ants is much more significant than in the structure of their new eyes. Has increased not only the optic lobes of the brain, but also the segments that are responsible for odor recognition and memory. These changes were primarily influenced by the factor that the insects climbed up to the surface, where day and night, and the number of predators is much higher than under the ground. Of course, all this requires from insects more brain activity, which automatically resulted in the development of the Central division of the nervous system.
Scientists are very excited about his discovery, because if the ants can restore the divisions of your brain, in the future this mechanism can be applied to other creatures. Potentially it can be used in the return of people lost feelings and various cognitive functions.