General, Research, Technology

These animals can grow a new heart for themselves. Are you surprised?

Many living creatures have amazingthe ability to regrow lost body parts. Scientifically, this phenomenon is called regeneration and it is inherent not only in lizards, but also in humans. After all, from time to time we also shed dead skin and replace it with new - this is also a kind of regeneration. Typically, animals can only regrow tails and limbs, but recently, scientists have observed a case of "extreme regeneration." They found slugs of the Elysia species, which can lose 80% of their body and in a fairly short time, re-grow almost their entire body. And this despite the fact that only the head remains of it! Researchers found this phenomenon very unusual and they continued to observe the behavior of amazing creatures. As a result, they managed to make several important discoveries.

The detached head of the Elysia slug

Interesting fact: the most striking example of regeneration islizards discarding and regenerating their tails. Axolotls can regrow lost limbs, and sponges living at the bottom of the seas can recover even if they are rubbed on a fine grater.

Tissue regeneration in animals

About the amazing ability of slugs toextreme regeneration was written in the scientific journal Current Biology. Elysia slugs are known for being able to incorporate the chloroplasts of eaten algae into their bodies and get energy from sunlight through photosynthesis. Recently, Japanese biologists Sayaka Mitoh and Yoichi Yusa noticed that some of these slugs completely discard their bodies and exist for some time in the form of a crawling head. Then they re-grow their body, along with the heart and other vital organs.

A slug head that will soon grow a body

It is important to note, that the discarded bodies could not grow back their heads.But they remained alive and reacted to external stimuli for several months. Eventually, however, they turned pale and began to decompose.

How does regeneration take place?

Researchers noticed that the separation of the head fromthe body occurs along strictly one line that encircles the base of the head. To test this, the scientists tied the line with nylon thread. After about 16 hours, the tissues around this area began to decompose and indeed, the separation took place along this line. Some old individuals also lost their bodies, but they could not be restored. Their heads survived for some time, but did not feed and died within 24 hours. But young slugs can regenerate their body about 2 times in their entire life.

Slugs are masters of regeneration! The rest of the animals can grow a maximum limb, but not most of the body.

How exactly does tissue regeneration occur inslugs, scientists still do not know for sure. But it can be assumed that the recovery process is the same as that of other living beings capable of it. When a part of the body is thrown away, a wound is formed, which is closed by a thin layer of tissue. What happens next vaguely resembles the process of embryonic development. Asexual stem cells become cells of a body and the body regenerates what it needs. This ability is inherent in lizards and other similar creatures. But people, although partially capable of regeneration, they cannot regrow the lost parts of the body. And all because the wounds are tightened with scar tissue, in which there are no vessels and other structures necessary for regeneration.

Read also: Regeneration of body parts is our future

Why is regeneration needed?

But why should slugs dump most of theyour body? One of two things: either they escape from predators, or they get rid of parasites. During the study, scientists found in the discarded bodies of crustaceans of the species Arthurius, which are parasites. So the second version is clearly closer to the truth. But when scientists imitated the attack of a predator, squeezing the bodies of slugs with tweezers, no separation of the body occurred. Still, they get rid of parasites in such a cunning way.

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At the beginning of the article, I mentioned that humans are also capable of regeneration. I wrote in more detail about which parts of the body we are able to restore in this article. Enjoy reading!