Strange Worm Regrows Memories After Its Head Is Chopped Off

planarian decapitation

Strange tiny worms called planarians have the amazing ability to regrow their memories, even after their heads are chopped off.

These amazing tiny worms can regrow their entire bodies from just one cell, including their heads and brains.

Researchers have known for decades that these flatworms can regrow their heads, but the new study shows that that also involves growing back their memories. It takes a little less than two weeks to regrow their heads.

The study was published July 2 in The Journal Of Experimental Biology. The researchers built a computerized device to train the planarian worms. The worms were trained to wiggle through bright lit areas — which they usually fear — to reach a food source.

After their heads were chopped off and regrown, they were given one more lesson on finding food in the light.

These worms remembered their training to ignore the bright lights and overcame their fear of the light, knowing there was food at the other end. Ones that had never been trained and never been decapitated didn’t catch on after only one lesson.

The researchers aren’t sure how the worms were able to rebuild their memories so quickly. They suggest that these memories may have been stored in the body, or that something about the worm’s bodily nervous system made their brains grow back similar to the one that had been removed.

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