HEREDITY/CANNIBALISM

Les Smith lessmith at buffnet.net
Fri Aug 15 10:20:47 EST 1997


I was hoping that that header might get your attention! I really would
appreciate, however, any help you might be able to give me on the topic.
Although I am aware that cannibalism had it's origins in the belief that
by eating an organ of another person--say a heart, or the brains, etc--
that the eater might thereby endow himself with characteristics of the
"eatee"--valour, intelligence, etc--this post concerns very basic life-
forms--to be specific, worms--not man. (aren't you glad?!) 

To get to the point, I'm wondering about the transference of a learned
response to a stimuli from one worm to another, when the first worm is
ingested by the second. As I remember it, the subjects were flat worms.
The first group of worms were taught something like (I think!) negotiat-
ing a simple maze, something like a "Skinner-Box" for worms! The first
group of worms were then ground up and fed to the second group of worms
who were then--supposedly--able to negotiate the maze on the first try,
without having ever seen it before. Thereby proving--once again, sup-
posedly--that the learned, or acquired response of the first group of
worms had been transferred to the second group by ingestion.

Biology, for me, was a long time ago. I'm somewhat hazy about the facts.
The basic idea, however, was the transference of a learned, or acquired
response to a stimuli by ingestion, AMONG VERY BASIC LIFE FORMS. Any and
all information you could supply me with on this topic, whether it in-
volves flat-worms or whatever, would be GREATLY APPRECIATED.

Thank you for your time and attention. Responses either here or to my
e-mail address below will be welcomed.

Les Smith
lessmith at buffnet.net




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