Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

What has the smallest brain

  1. Jan 13, 2012 #1
    At what point, or scale, do organisms/lifeforms/whatever have brains?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 13, 2012
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 13, 2012 #2
    Re: Do Bacteria know Humans exist?

    I'm going to guess it's the Fruit Fly
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/14/science/14neuron.html

    Any smaller and you just have a collection of neurons such as in worm and starfish etc...
     
  4. Jan 13, 2012 #3
    Nah. Much smaller. I beleive the parasite that lives in your eyelashes has a brain and it's practically invisible.

    Edit: reference http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demodex

    (If this doesn't have you washing your face then you have nerves of steel.)
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2012
  5. Jan 14, 2012 #4

    Pythagorean

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    First, define what you mean by brain. Some people call the nerve ring in c. elegans the brain, defining "brain" functionally.

    With something like a starfish or a jellyfish, nearly everyone agrees that there is no central nervous system; they have a distributed "neural net".

    On the other side of the nerve bundles in worms, we have insects with appendages that generally require a clear CNS of some sort to integrate sensory signals and motor skills (ants and flies).

    Second, define what you mean by small. The general scientific consensus is that we should compare brain size to body size and the ratio is what's significant (so a small brain is defined relative to the body it's in) whereas you may be thinking in absolute terms.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook