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cladking

Brain cell connections in animals.

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I saw a TV show the other day that children starting at age two began forming billions of connections between brain cells but most of these connections failed through disuse as the child ages.

 

I'm curious if this same phenomenon occurs in baby animals. I'm especially curious if the connections suffer the same fate to the same degree.

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Yes, though it is not really correct to say that the connections "fail". Rather pruning certain connections by favoring others is a way to optimize signal processing. I.e. it is part of brain maturation and referred to as synaptic pruning. It is common in mammals but I am not sure to what extent it exists in other animals.

Edited by CharonY

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Young farm animals certainly play a lot, and you don't see the same thing in the adults.

Edited by Robittybob1

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Yes, though it is not really correct to say that the connections "fail". Rather pruning certain connections by favoring others is a way to optimize signal processing. I.e. it is part of brain maturation and referred to as synaptic pruning. It is common in mammals but I am not sure to what extent it exists in other animals.

 

Thank you. Very interesting and just the kind of information I seek.

 

I'm actually a little more interested in the pruning itself. The TV show suggested it is very extensive in humans; that large percentages of all the connections are "pruned". I wonder if the percentages in other mammals are significantly higher or lower.

Young farm animals certainly play a lot, and you don't see the same thing in the adults.

 

It would seem likely this has some role in "play" or, at least, that play has some role in pruning.

 

I believe babies play even before two years of age though it is simple play.

 

Thanks.

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Humans are born at a different stage of brain development. Farm animal generally can stand within an hour or so of birth so the playing in lambs and calves we see is more like that of 5-6 year old children.

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Thank you. Very interesting and just the kind of information I seek.

 

I'm actually a little more interested in the pruning itself. The TV show suggested it is very extensive in humans; that large percentages of all the connections are "pruned". I wonder if the percentages in other mammals are significantly higher or lower.

 

It would seem likely this has some role in "play" or, at least, that play has some role in pruning.

 

I believe babies play even before two years of age though it is simple play.

 

Thanks.

 

I do not know specifics, but I assume it scales with the time required to hit puberty or equivalent.

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