Despite having miniature brains, insects might be aware and intelligent as much bigger animals, according to a new British study.
Experts from the University of Cambridge and Queen Mary claim that the fact that their brain no bigger than a pinhead does not mean they’re stupid. Computer simulations show that a sense of awareness can be created in many small neural circuits that can stand in the brain of insects, while the ability of counting can be achieved with only a few hundred neurons.
For a sense of consciousness, which distinguishes them from automated robots, enough of them, they say, only a few thousand.
– Animals with a much bigger brains are not necessarily more intelligent – says Professor Lars Chittka in the journal Current Biology but they are aware.
– We know that brain size pretty well determined by the size of the body. However, contrary to popular belief, we can not say that brain size determines the capacity of social behavior. In bigger brains we do not find much greater complexity but endless repetition of the same neural circuits – he explained.
– Bigger brains contribute to storing details saved images or sounds, but not necessarily the complexity of thinking. Computer analogy, we could say that a bigger brain requires larger hard disk, but not a better processor – added Chittka.
Differences in brain size between animals are immense. Brain whale weighs up to nine kilograms, but it may be about 200 billion nerve cells. The human brain weighs about 1.25 pounds and has about 85 billion neurons. On the other hand bee brain has only one milligram and less than one million nerve cells.
Scientists have already found that large brains tend to have highly developed insects as aware, hearing or vision as well as those of which the struggle for existence requires very precise movements.