Humans think they’re so smart. But do they have so many brains that they have to stuff great gobs of grey matter down into their legs?
However, from friend possum, devoted red reader and esteemed marsupial Science Man, comes news that there are a bunch of spiders out there who are such brainiacs that their legs are crammed full of brains.
Yes. People may have ants in their pants. But spiders have brains in their legs.
Because it seems that, when nature has anything to say about it, as you get tinier, you get brainier.
As the spiders get smaller, their brains get proportionally bigger, filling up more and more of their body cavities. “The smaller the animal, the more it has to invest in its brain, which means even very tiny spiders are able to weave a web and perform other fairly complex behaviors,” said William Wcislo, staff scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama. “We discovered that the central nervous systems of the smallest spiders fill up almost 80 percent of their total body cavity, including about 25 percent of their legs.”
Occasionally brains cause spiders to go Elephant Man:
Some of the tiniest, immature spiderlings even have deformed, bulging bodies. The bulge contains excess brain.
Ye gods. Brains are busting out all over.
“We suspected that the spiderlings might be mostly brain because there is a general rule for all animals, called Haller’s rule, that says that as body size goes down, the proportion of the body taken up by the brain increases,” said Wcislo. “Human brains only represent about 2-3% of our body mass. Some of the tiniest ant brains that we’ve measured represent about 15% of their biomass, and some of these spiders are much smaller.”
So, there you go. Wee ants have brains that consume more than 5 times their body mass, as compared to humans. And thus we now know why there are Republicans among humans. But not among ants.