Friday, April 19, 2024

Researchers find that motherhood shrinks brain by 25%

OK, relax, moms – we are talking about insects. Researchers have discovered that a species of ant can regrow lost parts of their brains, an ability never before seen in insects, reports CBC Radio’s Quirks & Quarks. In most ant species, only the queen can reproduce. However in the Indian jumping ant, when the queen dies, female workers have the ability to take on the reproductive role for the colony. But the promotion from worker to queen comes with a catch: the ant loses up to 25 per cent of its brain volume. When researchers removed queen-like ants from the colony, they essentially reverted back to workers. Clint Penick and fellow researchers found that the ants were able to regrow the missing parts of their brain. Penick says he believes that the extreme transformation is because if the ants are taking on the reproductive roles, they no longer need the cognitive abilities required to hunt, navigate, or even clean themselves.

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