Re: Aberrant Anthropology

Richard Wentk (
Wed, 11 Jan 1995 00:31:53 +0000

In article <3epkob$> alain@quince "Alain DAGHER" writes:

> Braxton ( wrote:
> : I can understand how he might have skewed the brain eating. In
> : Pychology experiments with planaria-flatworms-pretty dull creatures that
> : live in streams under rocks, you can teach one a maze-just a simple one
> : and then grind it up, and feed it to its friends and they know the maze.
> : Before you start considering the benefits of being Jeffrey Dalmer--it
> : doesn't work with humans. The digestion of the material is more complete
> : and the blood-brain barrier keeps out foreign proteins that could be
> : responsible for memory. Besides the flatworms friends aren't any more
> : intelligent after they have their buddy for lunch--they just know more.
> : The two ain't necessarily the same.
> Do you have a reference for this experiment? Personally I don't buy
> it.

The original experiments were done at the Dept of Psychology at Univ.
Michigan by Thompson and McConnell, and published in the rather whimsical
'Worm Runner's Digest' in the early 60s. (It may have been the late 50s
actually.) They started by cutting the worms in two and then watching
how the fragments regenerated - and how much maze running prowess they
had. Things obviously got a bit wilder after that... ;)

Planaria are cannibals anyway once they become sexually active, so eating
each other is no big deal to them.

Want more details? Go hassle UMICH! This is all I know - but it looks
for real to me. (Although kind of hard to explain - but that's not
the experimenters' problem!)