Thanks to the bearded dragon, scholars have been able to understand the diversity of the brain structure between reptiles and mammals. Here is the curious explanation.
The brains of a mammal and that of a reptile have different brain structures, despite the common ancestors. To attest to this, scholars had to examine the bearded dragon . It has always been believed that the brain of a mammal was the “improved” version of that of a reptile , but this research underlines something else.
The bearded dragon is part of the agamid family. It includes over 300 species found in Africa, Asia, Australia and southern Europe. This type of reptile can hardly reach 60 cm. The tail represents more than half of their body. Climbing is their forte and they perch most of the time in trees. Their main activity is basking , or rather sunbathing to regulate their body temperature.
The study used a molecular analysis technique called RNA tanscrittase . Here the scientists managed to trace a molecular catalog: over 280 thousand cells in the reptile and 233 distinct types of neurons. The brains of reptiles and mammals have ancestors in common, but the brain has a different structure in both species. In short, the mammalian brain is not an improvement of that of reptiles, but both have gone through different evolutionary paths.
- What the bearded dragon tells us about the mammalian brain (kodami.it)