Snails' brains shut down until they found food, researchers learned

Scientists have discovered that snails solve complex decisions using just two brain cells, in a discovery that could help engineers develop energy efficient robots.

By attaching electrodes to the brain circuitry of freshwater snails that were on the hunt for food, researchers learned the molluscs used only two neurons when they found a tasty lettuce.

Scientists discovered that snails used controller and motivator neurons to feed back information to each other to decide whether or not to eat.

But if no food was in front of the snail this part of its brain circuitry shut down, saving energy.

University of Sussex Professor George Kemenes, who led the research, said "What goes on in our brains when we make complex behavioural decisions and carry them out is poorly understood.

"Our findings can help scientists to identify other core neuronal systems which underlie similar decision-making processes.

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