Crocodiles belong to the most ancient species of vertebrates and almost did not change over 200 million years. An analysis of their brain illustrates the evolution of the nervous system and allows us to understand at what point certain structures of the brain were formed.
An international group of scientists decided to test how evolution affected the ability of animals to analyze sound and visual stimuli. Specialists were based on earlier scientific works, in which the brain of animals and birds was examined using magnetic resonance imaging.
Five young reptiles participated in the experiment; the researchers observed their reaction to various stimuli: visual (flashing lights of red and green) and sound. The sounds were simple (two random chords), and complex (the first 12 seconds of Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Brandenburg Concerto”). It turned out that when reptiles listened to the melody, they used those parts of the brain that did not react to simpler stimuli. The results were very similar to the response of the brain of mammals and birds.
Based on this information, scientists have found that the ability to analyze complex sounds is not new for modern animal species, but goes back to those times when much more ancient vertebrates walked on the Earth.