Tag Archives | Decapitation

Decapitated Worms Able To Regrow Their Heads, And Their Previous Memories

flatwormsMemories may be encoded in their DNA or stored outside of their brain, Smithsonian Magazine writes:

The researchers trained flatworms to travel across a rough surface to access food, then removed their heads. Two weeks later, after the heads grew back, the worms somehow regained their tendency to navigate across the terrain, as recently documented in the Journal of Experimental Biology.

Interest in flatworm memories dates to the 1950s, when a series of strange experiments by Michigan biologist James McConnell indicated that worms could gain the ability to navigate a maze by being fed the ground-up remains of other flatworms that had been trained to run through the same maze. McConnell speculated that a type of genetic material called “memory RNA” was responsible for this phenomenon, and could be transferred between the organisms.

Subsequent research into flatworm memory RNA exploited the fact that the worms could easily regenerate heads after decapitation.

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Traditional Valentine’s Gift? A Severed Head

NA001786The Irish Independent notes that in another time and place, a human head was the most thoughtful of amorous presents:

While most couples celebrate Valentine’s Day with flowers, chocolates and candlelit dinners, archivists have unearthed evidence that a less savoury romantic gesture was practised historically – bestowing a severed head on a loved one.

This left-field approach to love-making, practised by 19th-century Taiwanese aborigines, was discovered in the 150-year-old letters of botanical explorers.

Taking someone’s head after killing them was a ritualistic part of life in the culture until the 1930s and suitors would present severed heads to potential partners to woo them or to brides to celebrate their marriage, according to archive material in the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew.

The ritual, highlighted as part of the Archive Awareness Campaign, is revealed in a letter to Kew written in 1864 by Kew gardener Richard Oldham, who explains why he cannot explore the Taiwanese mountains near Tamsui.

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How Long Do Severed Heads Live?

dery1The latest science suggests that old-timey Europe’s  “humane” method of execution, decapitation, is a sham — heads seem remain alive for up to a minute after being disconnected from the lower portions. And theoretically they could survive if quickly reattached to a body. Via the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

Imagine yourself with your head in the business end of a guillotine. I know, it’s not the most pleasant of thoughts, but the guillotine was once considered a humane way to kill someone: Just a quick slice and you’re flat-out dead. But researchers are finding that neurons, the cells that make up the brain, are active even after their blood supply is suddenly cut off. And they may show activity for longer than a minute. In an arguably not-so-humane study, Dutch scientists measured the brain activity in mice after slicing off the mice’s heads. What they saw was a quick flash of brain activity immediately following decapitation – then, about 50 seconds later, another ripple of activity.

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Man Carries Girlfriend’s Head To Happy Hour

When your friend says he killed his girlfriend and is carrying her head around, it’s a good idea to at least check his bag. From Calgary Herald:

A Spanish man calmly drank beer with his mates in a bar with his murdered girlfriend’s head in a bag, press reports said Tuesday.

After leaving the bar on Sunday, the 34-year-old climbed an electrical tower, was hit by a shock and plunged 30 metres (100 feet) to the ground, dying that evening in hospital, they said.

According to a report in the ABC daily newspaper, citing witnesses, the man told friends in the bar in Cordoba, southern Spain, that he had decapitated his 30-year-old partner.

But he was so calm they did not believe him, despite bloodstains on his shirt.

Continues at Calgary Herald

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