Jump to content

Worms Regrow Memories After Decapitation


Recommended Posts




Meet the small yellow worm that can REGROW its own head - and its old memories 
  • If the planarian worm's head is cut off it can regenerate a new one
  • Scientists have found this new head contains memories from the old one
  • This suggests memories are stored in another part of the body

Scientists have discovered that not only can the planarian worm regrow its head if its cut off, the regenerated brain contains the same memories that were stored in the decapitated one.


Researchers from Tufts University in Boston tested the memory of the planarian worms by measuring how long it took them to reach food in a lab environment.

The small yellow worms had been trained to ignore the bright lights in the lab so they could find their meals without being distracted and the scientists found that even after decapitation worms remembered this training.




Researchers at Tufts University have found that not only can the planarian worm, pictured, regrow its own head, but the new head contains old memories. The worms were trained to find food in a petri dish before being decapitated. When their new head had regrown, the worms were able to remember these skills


Planarian worms have two eye-spots that can detect the intensity of light. 


These spots act as photoreceptors and are used to move away from bright light sources. This means that the worms had to be trained to get over this fear of the light to get the food. 


Once they had learnt this skill, the worms were decapitated. 

Two weeks later - when most of the worm's heads had grown back - the team put the worms back into the petri dish. 


Using video-tracking technology, the scientists discovered that the worms which had been trained found the brightly lit food quicker than their peers. 

And, although they didn't find the food on the first attempt, it only took one training session for the worms to recover their skills and ignore the lights. 

This was faster than the decapitated worms that hadn't been trained before losing their heads. 


However, the researchers don't know how or why this happens.


The findings suggest that the worm's memories may be stored somewhere else in the body. 


A second idea suggested by the researchers is that the worms' old brain had changed their nervous systems to adjust to the light, and these changes to the system remained when the new brain was grown. 


Researchers said in the study that more work needs to be done to discover exactly how the worm is able to retain old memories, but the findings can be used as a starting point for work into how memories in humans and other animals could be restored. 


The findings appear in the Journal of Experimental Biology.



  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Worms are people too, and should be given human rights to stop needless decapitation in the name of science.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

They must be all female worms. Women never forget anything, anytime, anywhere, for any reason - especially if it is something we (guys) did wrong.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Guidelines. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue..