A group of scientists at Yale University discovered they can use lasers to turn mice into predatory killers that devour whatever is in their path.
By beaming a ray on a certain set of neurons in a mouse’s brain, researchers were able to prompt it to pursue its prey. Stimulating another set of neurons would cause the creature to bite and kill its target, the researchers revealed in a study published in the journal Cell Thursday.
With the laser stimulation, “the mice take on qualities of ‘walkers’ from The Walking Dead, pursuing and biting almost anything in their path,” according to a statement on the study, a write-up of the study in Phys.org says.
“The system is not just generalized aggression,” Prof. Ivan de Araujo of Yale University School of Medicine, one of the researchers on the study, told The Independent. “It seems to be related to the animal’s interest in obtaining food.”
The mice wouldn’t attack their fellow species either, but when hit with the laser beams, “the otherwise indifferent mice to immediately assume a ‘capture-like’ body posture and seize the object, which was then held with the forepaws and bitten,” the study says.
The mice would even try to eat non-food items, like sticks, when the laser stimulation occurred.
The authors of the study say the results “suggest that central amygdala neurons instruct predatory hunting across jawed vertebrates,” indicating that it may be possible to isolate and stimulate areas of the human brain that control feeding functions as well.
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