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PNAS:灵长类动物能迅速探测蛇

来源:EurekAlert 2013-10-29 12:03

一项研究发现,灵长类大脑的一组神经元能对蛇的图像做出选择性的迅速反应,其方式能带来对可能致命的爬行动物的迅速视觉探测。

Lynne Isbell及其同事测量了两只猕猴的视觉系统神经元对蛇和来自环境的其他物体的图像的响应。特别是这组作者检查了中丘脑枕和背外侧丘脑枕的神经元,灵长类动物大脑的这个区域参与了视觉注意和有威胁的图像的快速处理。

这组作者测试了91个神经元对蛇的图像、同伴猕猴的脸、同伴猕猴的手以及简单的几何图形的响应。这组作者报告说,蛇不仅带来了数量最多的神经元的响应,它们还引起了对测试的图像的最强烈、最迅速的响应。这组作者得出结论说,他们的发现识别出了灵长类对蛇有高度视觉敏感性、并且甚至能够在一个拥挤的视觉场景中迅速探测到它们的一个神经生物学基础。

这组作者说,这些发现可能有助于科学家更好地理解在进化时间上影响了灵长类世系的环境压力。(生物谷Bioon.com)

生物谷推荐的英文摘要

Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences of the United States of America         doi: 10.1073/pnas.1312648110

Pulvinar neurons reveal neurobiological evidence of past selection for rapid detection of snakes

Quan Van Lea, Lynne A. Isbellb,1, Jumpei Matsumotoa, Minh Nguyena, Etsuro Horia, Rafael S. Maiorc, Carlos Tomazc, Anh Hai Trana, Taketoshi Onoa, and Hisao Nishijoa,1

Snakes and their relationships with humans and other primates have attracted broad attention from multiple fields of study, but not, surprisingly, from neuroscience, despite the involvement of the visual system and strong behavioral and physiological evidence that humans and other primates can detect snakes faster than innocuous objects. Here, we report the existence of neurons in the primate medial and dorsolateral pulvinar that respond selectively to visual images of snakes. Compared with three other categories of stimuli (monkey faces, monkey hands, and geometrical shapes), snakes elicited the strongest, fastest responses, and the responses were not reduced by low spatial filtering. These findings integrate neuroscience with evolutionary biology, anthropology, psychology, herpetology, and primatology by identifying a neurobiological basis for primates’ heightened visual sensitivity to snakes, and adding a crucial component to the growing evolutionary perspective that snakes have long shaped our primate lineage.

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