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Are Animals capable of Dreaming?

Do Animals go into a state of Dreamland when they go to sleep? Can Animals Dream?

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If you’re sick and tired of this world, you can always take several minutes to escape from your vain reality. You can make that possible by dreaming. Everyone has always been interested with dreams whether there is science or sorcery behind it. It’s the only time you can be someone that you’re not, go to places you’ve never been and even do things you haven’t tried. Humans, known to be the highest form of animals, embrace the beauty of dreams; but do we know if real animals experience this too?

Pet lovers observed and believed that their animals are dreaming– their eyes are twitching, legs are moving and sometimes heads are shaking while asleep. Whether animals are dreaming or are only experiencing seizures, it can be validated with some scientific tests.

In 2000, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) made a study with the use of rats to identify if indeed animals do dream. Rats are given reward when running in a circular maze. At the same time, their brain activities were recorded with the use electrodes connected to them. Scientists noted all the equivalent patterns when rats are moving or standing still, including where they are situated in the maze. They found out that such activities involved the part of the brain called hippocampus. This major brain component is responsible for encoding memories.

When the rats fell to sleep, brain activities were still recorded with electrodes still attached. In the study, it was discovered that rats go through several phases of sleep just like humans. They also reached rapid eye movement phase or REM, the phase where dreaming usually takes place. MIT recorded 40 REM sleep from the rats and amazingly, about half of them have the same neural pattern when they performed those exercises in the maze. The results were very remarkable that scientists can identify whether rats are sitting or running in their dreams.

On January 2001, results of the study were published in the Neuron journal. It was concluded that reactivating memories could be useful in encoding some activities as long-term memory. Scientists before were under the impression that only few kinds of animals have the ability to remember complex memories. After MIT’s study, it has changed their views and believed that most animals possess such ability to retain complex memories. This study also inspires scientists to bring more useful applications to humans – solution to memory disorders.

Well, I would say that of course animals dream, because I have seen my own dogs have twitches and such while they are asleep. I am actually doing a research paper on whether animals dream or not, and if so, which animals dream. But as I was researching, I came across a thought. Sea Sponges are animals, correct? But I would like to truthfully say that sea sponges do not dream. So then I began to wonder, if they are animals, but they do not dream, then what is the dividing factor to which animals dream, and which do not? Is it only mammals that dream? But many people believe that birds dream. Perhaps it is only land animals? No, studies show that Dolphins dream. I came to the conclusion that maybe only vertebrates dream. I am continuing to research this topic, and please reply to this post if you have any contradictions to my ideas.
I hope this was helpful!

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