Monday, May 27, 2024

Do animals dream like humans do?


image source, Good pictures

  • author, Carolyn Wilk
  • stock, Navabel magazine

Small jumping spiders hang by their webs at night inside a laboratory box. Occasionally, their legs buckle and their spines quiver. Their retinas, visible through their transparent exoskeleton, move back and forth.

“What’s happening to these spiders looks very similar to what’s called rapid eye movement sleep,” says Dr Daniela Rössler, a behavioral ecologist at the University of Konstanz in Germany. During this phase of sleep, the sleeping animal’s eyes move unexpectedly.

For humans, rapid eye movement sleep is the stage in which they dream most of their dreams, especially dreams that contain details that resemble reality. This leads us to a perplexing question: If spiders experience REM sleep during sleep, does that mean dreams unfold in their poppy seed-sized brains?

Roesler and his colleagues conducted a 2022 study on spinning web spiders, where they placed surveillance cameras over 34 spiders and found that they went through REM-like sleep stages every 17 minutes. Nocturnal eye movement behavior was restricted to these bouts, when jumping spiders were moving, stretching, adjusting their silk threads, or grooming themselves with one of their legs.

Nadia Barnett
Nadia Barnett
"Award-winning beer geek. Extreme coffeeaholic. Introvert. Avid travel specialist. Hipster-friendly communicator."

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