A new study published in Science suggests that mammal babies dream of the world before being born. The team of researchers noticed that newborn mammals acted as if they were somewhat prepared to interact with their environment. “At eye opening, mammals are capable of pretty sophisticated behavior,” said Michael Craig, the leader of the team. “But how do the circuits form that allow us to perceive motion and navigate the world? It turns out we are born capable of many of these behaviors, at least in rudimentary form.”
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To determine how exactly the babies behave, the scientists observed the retinas of newborn mice before they open their eyes for the first time. Craig and his peers noticed waves of activity from the retinas which disappear after birth, and are replaced by a a network of neural transmissions that carry visual stimuli to the brain. The dream-like activity helps the mouse get ready for what will happen when it opens its eyes.
Image credit: Nagara Oyodo