(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists have found that jellyfish can not restore lost limbs, but to distribute their functions between the remaining ones.
In the spring of 2013 the biologist Michael Abrams snapped a two oral lobes young jellyfish (ether) species Aurelia aurita and became a phenomenon of witnesses, who had never seen before. She was expected to grow lost limbs, as many invertebrates do. Instead, the jellyfish redistributed the remaining six blades so that they were all evenly spaced around the body. Symmetry is important for eared aurelia when moving.
Scientists came across a phenomenon completely unknown in science, which was called “symmetrization”. For jellyfish, this is a very important way of self-medication, because they often suffer from bodily harm, sometimes caused by predators.
Researchers could miss this discovery: initially they planned to study the limb restoration of the jellyfish Turritopsis dohrnii, which is also called immortal. In anticipation of specimens, scientists decided to conduct an experiment on a simpler jellyfish.
After observing how the eared Aurelia was rebuilding its body, Michael Abrams conducted the experiment several more times because it seemed to him that he had made a mistake. When he was convinced that the young jellyfish really moved its blades to restore symmetry, he and his team tried to figure out how the animals manage to do this. The whole process can take from 12 hours to four days.
After a few false starts, the researchers focused on the jellyfish muscles. When a muscle relaxant was introduced, which reduces muscle tone, the jellyfish could not complete the symmetrization, and an increase in muscle impulses accelerated the process. It turns out that the muscles push each other to increase the distance between the oral cavities.
Maintaining body symmetry is very important for marine animals: asymmetric jellyfish can hardly repel in water and eat properly. Scientists give an example of a car: it’s worth removing one wheel and it will not be able to move, but if you put the remaining wheel in the center, the car will go.
Researcher Lea Goentoro of the California Institute of Technology hopes that their discovery will help make a breakthrough in biomaterial technology – you need to replace not the lost part of the body, but the functions that it performed.
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