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Researchers Turn Goldfish into Cyborg

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A goldfish with cybernetic headgear.

Scientists performed brain surgery on goldfish to attach electrodes threaded through tiny holes in the fish’s skull to a recording device on its head to monitor its neuronal activity.

Credit: Lear Cohen

Researchers at Israel's Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and France's Institut de Biologie de l'École Normale Supérieure equipped 15 goldfish with cybernetic headgear to probe their underlying navigational brain mechanisms.

BGU's Lear Cohen said the researchers surgically inserted electrodes into the goldfish's brains, which were linked to a waterproof recorder that monitored neuronal activity.

Specialized neurons in the goldfish's brains fired when they approached the edges of a tank, warning them of an incoming boundary or obstacle.

Cohen thinks the variation of animals' navigation circuits may be a function of the different challenges they confront in orienting themselves to their habitats.

From The New York Times
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