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China Earth Science

520-Million-Year-Old Arthropod May Have Had the First Modern Brain 60

Posted by samzenpus
from the wile-away-the-hours dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Scientists say that the recently discovered 520 million year old insect brain, the oldest brain ever discovered in an arthropod, is surprisingly complex for its age, and may be the earliest example on record of a modern brain structure. Hailed as a 'transformative discovery,' researchers said that the 3-inch-long fossilized extinct arthropod found in Yunnan Province, China, shows that insects evolved to have complex brains significantly earlier than previously thought. Researchers said that the fossilized brain, which looks very similar to brains of modern insects, may provide a missing link that offers new insight on the evolutionary history of arthropods, a group of invertebrates that includes insects, spiders and crustaceans."
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520-Million-Year-Old Arthropod May Have Had the First Modern Brain

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  • Access has been blocked because of:
    Tru-View has categorised this page as Drugs

    • by Chrisq (894406) on Thursday October 11, 2012 @06:50AM (#41617427)

      Access has been blocked because of: Tru-View has categorised this page as Drugs

      Mind you the funniest one I have come across was a page about "sharp calculators [sharp-world.com] classed as weapons. Well I suppose a (literally) sharp calculator could be!

      • by azalin (67640)
        The feather (or pen) is mightier than the sword, so calculators (especially sharp ones) should be considered dangerous.
        On the other hand I'm have some trouble with the exact level of dangerousness. If pen beats sword (and thereby knife and dagger), what would a pocket calculator beat?
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          If pen beats sword (and thereby knife and dagger), what would a pocket calculator beat?

          Barack Obama at calculating the deficit?

          • If pen beats sword (and thereby knife and dagger), what would a pocket calculator beat?

            Barack Obama at calculating the deficit?

            Congress at creating a budget.

        • by Rufty (37223)
          While a sharp calculator may have a certain level of dangerousness, to really cause damage you need a spreadsheet [slashdot.org].
          • by azalin (67640)
            Nice one... Still the question of what weapon a calculator would beat remains unanswered. A pointy stick, a knife, assault rifle, sarin gas or an icbm? The whole issue is rather tricky. In close combat a pocket calculator is rather worthless, even if thrown in a slingshot. If it is used to calculate ballistic flight paths for artillery things change...
          • While a sharp calculator may have a certain level of dangerousness, to really cause damage you need a spreadsheet [slashdot.org].

            Spreadsheets are truly the weapons of math destruction.

      • But if it wasn't sharp it'd infringe Apple's patents.

    • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Thursday October 11, 2012 @06:52AM (#41617429) Homepage Journal

      You didnt miss much. Just some conclusions about the evolution of insects:

      They explained that up until now, research on insects has been divided into two camps. While some researchers believe that insects evolved from the same ancestor that gave rise to malacostracans, a group of crustaceans that include crabs and shrimp, the majority of scientists believe that they were derived from a group of crustaceans called branchiopods, a species that includes include brine shrimp, which have a simpler brain anatomy than malacostracans.

      However, researchers from the latest study say that the new finding shows that insects did in fact evolve from creatures that already possessed complex brains.
      Read more at http://www.medicaldaily.com/articles/12631/20121010/520-million-year-old-bug-creature-first.htm#hclmrDOPXj8WW6PR.99 [medicaldaily.com]

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        You didnt miss much. Just some conclusions about the evolution of insects:

        I could have got that watching the conservative party conference

      • by azalin (67640)

        You didnt miss much. Just some conclusions about the evolution of insects:

        What is this evolution you talk of, and how can this insect be 520 million years old, if earth is only 6000 years old?
        I still don't know whether to laugh or cry, when I hear people try to proclaim creationism as science. Otoh trying to get it into the classroom pisses me of for sure.

        • You didnt miss much. Just some conclusions about the evolution of insects:

          What is this evolution you talk of, and how can this insect be 520 million years old, if earth is only 6000 years old?

          I still don't know whether to laugh or cry, when I hear people try to proclaim creationism as science. Otoh trying to get it into the classroom pisses me of for sure.

          Don't be absurd. Evolution is a Lie from Hell. I have that straight from the congressional panel on Science and Technology.

    • This is the opening line from another article on the same page, which is actually more interesting than the insect-brain article. Of course now that I've posted it here, your corporate web blocker may seal off Slashdot... " Performing oral sex or having sex without a condom may benefit both mental and physical health in women, according to scientists who analyzed the effects of semen's "mood-altering chemicals."
      • Performing oral sex or having sex without a condom may benefit both mental and physical health in women, according to scientists who analyzed the effects of semen's "mood-altering chemicals."

        Citation needed on that.

        Desperately!

        • by gstoddart (321705)

          "Performing oral sex or having sex without a condom may benefit both mental and physical health in women, according to scientists who analyzed the effects of semen's "mood-altering chemicals."

          Citation needed on that.

          Desperately!

          I can't speak to the accuracy of the claims, but here [medicaldaily.com]. Pretty much verbatim.

          Anecdotally, I know what being on the receiving end does for my mood though. ;-)

          • Thanks for that, nice to know. If I ever get out of my mom's basement and get a 'real' girl, I need to make sure she reads this. "There's your proof right there on the internet, honey, so it's really true! Now..." :-)
    • When in actuality, it should have been categorized as Bugs...

  • offensive (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 11, 2012 @06:54AM (#41617441)

    Frankly I find the idea of a bug that thinks offensive.

    • Re:offensive (Score:4, Informative)

      by Walterk (124748) <dublet@acmHORSE.org minus herbivore> on Thursday October 11, 2012 @07:21AM (#41617565) Homepage Journal

      Note to mods: the above is a reference [youtube.com] to famous sci-fi Starship Troopers [imdb.com].

      Would you like to know more?

      • by rossdee (243626)

        I am sure that Robert Anson Heinlein tirns over in his grave whenever anyone mentions that crappy movie.
        He would like to be remembered for the book though.

        • Not entirely fair. It's certainly a terrible attempt at a Starship Troopers movie, however when I mentally rename it to "Bugs From Space" and ignore the sound of Heinlein spinning in his grave, it becomes a lot more enjoyable. The effects are decent, it has a good sense of humor, a lovely redhead, and Neil Patrick Harris

          • by Genda (560240)

            I find Heinleins spinning in his grave, gives the movie soundtrack an edgy whine that makes it more suspenseful. I would actually change the name of the movie to "RRRRAAAAIIIDDDD!!!"

        • I'm not sure sure. It did the RIGHT thing in that it didn't slavishly follow the book--most movies that do fail because books aren't the same as movies, so doing a 1-to-1 translation doesn't really work.

          Heinlein also had certain political views that he trotted out in his books: citizenship through service, government control, propaganda, etc. The Starship Troopers movie actually does a really good job of a lot of that. Despite the big explosions and (sometimes) goofy dialogue and meaningless romance/sex sce

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        Also an Asimov short story with aliens that breathe chlorine and look like giant houseflys, titled C-Chute. [wikipedia.org] Unfortunately, the linked wiki article doesn't mention their looking like insects.

    • by azalin (67640)
      "If it's got more than two legs, shoot it!" (or something along this line, it's been to long)
    • "Come on, you apes! You wanna live forever!?"

      I think the quote from the book is slightly different:

      "Move it, Apes! Do you want to live forever?"

      Would you like to know more?

    • Well, now we can legally call someone bug head or insect head...
    • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Thursday October 11, 2012 @08:42AM (#41618055) Journal

      Frankly I find the idea of a bug that thinks offensive.

      You have not seen the AI code in development. Sometimes the code becomes sentient prematurely and the bugs think they are features.

    • by Nidi62 (1525137)
      I really would love it if they remade that movie to actually include powered armor.
  • by oDDmON oUT (231200) on Thursday October 11, 2012 @06:59AM (#41617471)

    "Finally".

  • You know for sure that the first thought through the minds of Chinese researchers upon finding this fossilized bug: "What does it taste like?"
    I mean, that was pretty much my first thought.. well, right after "what's the best way to cook it?"
  • Over half a billion years. As far as we know, it's only been 13.75 billion years since (the|this most recent) big bang. That's 3.636% (repeating of course) of the age of the universe we've spent evolving our minds. And now we cast our gaze back over half a billion years in wonder.
    • still... nearly half the bug's DNA should still be viable ;)

      • my bad - misread the first article, what I should have said was:

        still... nearly 0.5^998080 fraction of the DNA should still be viable.

        I think it lost the giggle factor second time round...

  • Damn (Score:5, Funny)

    by nospam007 (722110) * on Thursday October 11, 2012 @07:54AM (#41617813)

    Reading this from the couch on the TV with large fonts, I read the title as:

    520-Million-Year-Old Arthropod May Have Had the First Modem!

    and I thought, damn, news for nerds, finally!

    • by Genda (560240)

      And you never heard crickets downloading Katydid porn on a warm summer night?

      Slash-dotters lead such sheltered lives...

  • Uhhhhhh (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Giant Electronic Bra (1229876) on Thursday October 11, 2012 @08:16AM (#41617919)

    520 million years, or a good ways into the Atdabanian Stage. At that point trilobites have been around for at least 6 million years already. Surely they had fairly sophisticated arthropod brains. I dunno, this seems a little late, the primary radiation in Euarthropoda almost certainly came before this guy lived. In any case the systematics of arthropods are a mess.

  • by PopeRatzo (965947) on Thursday October 11, 2012 @08:29AM (#41617977) Homepage Journal

    My daughter thinks SHE has the first modern brain.

  • Paul Ryan was that old....
    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      Paul Ryan isn't that old. John McCain, Mitch McConnell, and Joe Lieberman, on the other hand ...

  • You mean the earth wasn't created 6,000 years ago?
  • He did not have the first modern birth control and must have coupled with someone of the opposite gender.

    And here we are today with imaginary "Intellectual Property".

    Oh, look, Joe found a better, faster way to make fire! Too bad the rest of us aren't allowed to do that.

    Oh, look, Bill found that a spear works better than a club for killing prey! Too bad the rest of us can't do that.

    Oh, look, John found that using round wheels work better than rectangles with rounded corners! Too bad the rest o

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