Comb jellyfish are even more unique than scientists previously expected, as new research shows they have a nervous system unlike anything scientists have ever encountered. The uniqueness here is due to the way that the comb jellies nervous system is built up. The comb jellies use a fused nervous structure to communicate, rather than using the gaps between synapses.
It’s an intriguing discovery that completely changes how scientists look at the nervous systems found in animals, because we’ve never seen anything like this. Not only does it prove even more just how different animals can be at times, but it also shows that there are other ways for neurons to connect to each other.
By proving just how different the nervous system is in these creatures, scientists have unlocked a mystery that could expand to other animals, too. Further, these fused neurons could hint at the independent evolution of these systems. Scientists say that they are not sure. Research detailing the discovery of the comb jellies’ unique nervous system is published in Science.
The study here examined ctenophores as young as a few weeks old. They can move and reproduce at that age, but are not fully grown. The researchers found that the ctenospheres nervous systems didn’t have synapses. The entire system instead is fused together and connected. The neurons can communicate through membrane-like connections.
It’s an intriguing discovery that makes the comb jellyfish appear even more alien than it already does. And, if other animals are discovered to have similar nervous systems, it could help shed more light on just how possible this kind of independent evolution is. The comb jellyfish do not rely solely on membranes. Scientists also found that the jellies still use synapses.
Why the comb jellyfish nervous system relies on two different means of communication is unclear. But it does pose more questions for researchers to strive to answer, and perhaps it could help us discover more about these alien-like creatures in the future.
The post Comb jellies look like bizarre aliens, and scientists made a weird new discovery about them appeared first on BGR.