Rats’ brains look like the internet

funny-rat-pictures-6Boffins slicing and dicing rats’ brains for a living have come up with the startling discovery that the grey matter is wired in a similar way to the internet.

A team of scientists from USC constructed a database from 40 years of study of the rat brain, resulting in this database, a virtual ‘wiring diagram’ for the rat’s brain.

Then they conducted a network analysis on the connections, to try and understand the underlying structure. What appeared to be the case was that the neurons were built in a series of local networks, “layered like the shells in a Russian nesting doll”.

Two local networks — vision and learning, and organ function — make up the inner shell, with another two making up the outer shell.

That gives the cerebral cortex the structure of a “mini-Internet” — or any complex computer network, really. A series of increasingly larger local networks all connect together, working upwards until you end with the fibre-optic cables and data centres that make up the backbone of our Internet.

We will not really believe that a rat’s brain could be dedicated to that much sex, although we do accept that having a lots of pictures of cats would make a lot of sense.