There are some animals that can grow back specific parts of their body when they have been cut off. Lizards, for example, are known for their ability to grow back their tails. However, experts have found something even more fascinating. New research published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B has revealed that some species of ribbon worms can re-grow their heads.
Researchers from different institutions collated information on 35 species of ribbon worms from the phylum Nemertea. From that roster, the researchers chose 22 species to investigate. The researchers then proceeded to cut off their heads and tails. Results showed that all 22 species could re-grow their tails. However, a few could also regenerate their entire heads.
In another study published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, researchers from Tufts University found that planarian worms can also re-grow their heads. During the experiment, the researchers trained the worms to find food across a rough surface. They also measured how long it took for each worm to find food. Then, they decapitated the planarian worms. After two weeks, the researchers found that the worms regenerated their heads and even re-learned the ability to find food. (Related: Superhuman abilities: Scientists find link to worm DNA that could allow humans to regrow limbs.)
Experts believe that re-growing body parts are an ancient trait that is passed on as species evolve. Many animals, not just worms, are known to re-grow lost body parts. Here are five more animals known for their incredible regenerative abilities.
Many species in this world have the amazing ability to regenerate lost body parts. Recently, they have been the focus of research, which investigates how these animals may be able to help with human cell regeneration.