Chicks Have Superior Brain Activity Before Hatching
Researchers from Carlos III Univ. in Madrid (UC3M) are part of a team that, for the first time ever, has been able to monitor the brain activity of a chicken embryo and to confirm that superior brain activity (carrying out complex tasks) begins long before the chick hatches.
This is one of the principle conclusions of a study that has been published in the scientific journal Current Biology. Participants in the study included Evan Balaban (McGill Univ., Montreal), Manuel Desco (Gregorio Marañón General Univ. Hospital of Madrid and UC3M) and Juan José Vaquero (UC3M). The researchers managed to arouse a chicken embryo by exposing it to a sound that would have meaning after its birth (for example, the sound of a chicken warning others of danger). However, their study has demonstrated that the animal does not have the same reaction when it is exposed to a sound that is similar, but that has no special meaning for the chick.