Probably many owners of cats and dogsnoticed that their pets in their sleep sometimes twitch their paws, as if running, make certain sounds, etc. Most likely at this moment they are having a visual dream. But if animals dream, then they have a number of cognitive abilities that are characteristic of humans. That is, they have emotions, memory and even imagination. This means that they can experience some events from the past not only in a dream, but also think about them in reality. But who decided that animals have the same dreams as people? Perhaps the movements in a dream are associated with some features of the nervous system, but not at all with visual dreams? Let's try to understand this further.
Do cats dream
Animal dreams have interested scientists for a long time, butthe first serious study was carried out only in the 60s of the last century. In that work of Michel Jouvet, domestic cats took part, which became the first animals to prove that not only people can dream.
What was the point of this study?As you know, a person during sleep, even the most active, lies motionless. Thanks to the state of atony, when the body is paralyzed, sleep is completely safe for us - we do not run, do not jump, and do not do anything else. Only the eyes remain active, as we talked about earlier. Therefore, if animals dream, then they also have a mechanism that paralyzes the body during REM sleep.
Michel Jouvet discovered that a part of the brain calledpons may regulate REM sleep in cats. According to him, it is this part of the brain that causes paralysis in animals during sleep. After removing this part of the brain, cats in deep REM sleep really began to behave the same as during wakefulness - jumping, grooming themselves, aggressively defending themselves from invisible threats and hunting. Thus, scientists could guess what happens in the brain of a sleeping cat.
Rats in a dream remember a maze
Michel Jouvet's work is far from the onlyproof that animals dream. For example, in one study, scientists found that rats remember the maze they ran through during the day. The authors found that when awake, the rat's hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for creating and storing memories, remembers the pattern of neural navigation through the maze.
Then, in sleep, the rat's brain reproduces the samepicture. According to scientists, beauty remembers or re-learns the labyrinth through which she walked during the day. This study was published in 2001. Then, additional work was carried out, thanks to which scientists found that in rats, when they remember the maze, there are visual images that they saw in the waking state. Moreover, the picture is accompanied by sounds.
“There are a lot of things that indicate that during sleep there is a re-experiencing of the waking state,” says Matthew Wilson, a neuroscientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Birds dream of singing
Zebra finches, birds of the finches familyweavers are known for their beautiful singing. However, they are not born singers. Therefore, they should hone their skills, especially at an early age - listen to other birds, practice and maybe think about singing. During one of the studies, which was conducted in 2000, scientists found that neurons in the forebrain of birds fire in a certain pattern during singing.
Then, in a dream, the samethe song they played while awake. The authors of the study suspect that not only do songbirds dream of singing, but they also think about singing while awake, that is, they dream. I must say that further studies of birds have shown that they have the same sleep structure as humans, including a stage of REM sleep.
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From the foregoing, it follows that animalsreally dreaming. Moreover, some researchers believe that even spiders dream. This is an indirect confirmation that animals can reproduce events that they experienced before. That is, in fact, they can dream.