Putting animal brains in human bodies

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by Larry Johnson, Feb 3, 2013.

  1. Larry Johnson Banned Banned

    Is it possible to put an animal brain in a human body, like some kind of chimera? Animals don't have vocal chords so they can't communicate even if they are really intelligent. Imagine what would happen if you put a dog's brain in a human body, essentially giving the dog the power of speech. We could learn so much from it.
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  3. Buddha12 Valued Senior Member


    But they do communicate with each other , why do you think they can't speak in their own ways?

    Listen to whales talk to each other...


    Sorry, that would be impossible.

    Dogs talk in their own ways, they can't learn to use vocal chords that humans have developed over the course of evolution.

    We would not learn anything but kill dogs and humans; Leave the animals alone, they don't want to be something they are not, they like what they are. We can learn from them by just watching them not tampering with them and moving parts around thereby killing them.
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  5. billvon Valued Senior Member


    Dogs do have vocal cords. Animals like gorillas and whales DO communicate.

    There are half a dozen things wrong with that concept, not the least of which is "it wouldn't work."
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2013
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  7. leopold Valued Senior Member

    not at the moment.
    there would be problems connecting the brain stem to the spinal cord, not to mention getting the blood flow right.
    why would you be interested in that anyway when there is so much to be gained by regenerating nerve connections?
    i'm sure there are many quadriplegics out there that would reward you handsomely for such a breakthrough.
  8. Crunchy Cat F-in' *meow* baby!!! Valued Senior Member

    I think you mean, "Is it possible to put another animal's brain in a human body?". It's not presently possible as everyone has correctly stated and it might not be possible at all as a human nervous system may be incompatible with the brain of another animal.
  9. KitemanSA Registered Senior Member

    Yes, but they would both die.
  10. sunshaker Registered Member

    Experiments have been going on like this since the 50s, in the 60s they transplanted monkeys heads onto other monkeys which survived for long periods, still with there senses intact.


    if this was done in the 50s-60s what is being done now behind closed doors.

    I would be surprised if they have not yet done this with human subjects.
  11. KitemanSA Registered Senior Member

    My recollection is that those experiments were same species, like chimp to chimp. IIRCAIMN, they were also only partial transplants. It is widely known that people can lose significant portions of their brains and have little or no obvious ill effect.
  12. Griffin Registered Member

    You would have to teach the dog a language... Which could pose a pretty big challenge.
  13. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    The preferred English spelling is cords. The spelling "chord" arose because of confusion with the musical term, meaning several notes played simultaneously. Also the geometrical term.

    The vocal cords in humans are stretched out across the larynx. In human babies and adults of most other mammal species, the larynx is very high in the throat. However, it descends to a lower position that gives the vocal cords much more flexibility and allows us to make the myriad sounds that comprise human language.

    This anatomical oddity comes with a tremendous disadvantage: Almost all other mammals can breathe and swallow at the same time. We cannot; if something gets stuck in our throat it can asphyxiate us.

    No no, you've got it backwards. It's the brain that gives us the power of speech. The larynx or "voice box" merely gives us a convenient way to express that speech. The human brain has a speech center that allows us to manipulate the elements of language almost as quickly as we can think of the concepts we're trying to express, and it also has a direct connection to our speech organs (which include the tongue, jaw, lips, glottis and other bits of flesh, not just the larynx) so that once we form those sounds in our speech center we can produce them in real-time.

    Notice that some phonemes don't even use the vocal cords, for example, in English, the whole set of unvoiced consonants: K T P H S SH CH.

    Lacking a speech center, a dog's brain can identify and interpet no more than a couple of hundred words, and it has almost no ability at all to combine them and express a relationship between them, such as "fetch ball" or "chase rabbit." So even with a much more advanced larynx like ours, a dog would not be able to "talk" as we interpret the word. He might be able to enunciate a few individual words like "love," "eat," "play," "squirrel," "danger," etc., maybe even a hundred of them, but only one at a time.

    Conversely, a human (or any other animal) with a speech center will eventually find a way to express the words that form in his mind. Deaf people, and people whose vocal apparatus is ruined, "speak" in sign language, and their language is both as fast and as rich as ours. (And contrary to popular belief, it is not a word-for-word transcription of spoken English.)

    None of the other species of apes, of course, have a speech center. However, their brains are so much more complex than other animals that they can manage to use human language. Not at the level of a human, but far beyond the level of a dog. Both gorillas and chimpanzees have been taught ASL (American Sign Language) and both employ and understand a vocabulary in excess of 1,000 words. One even taught it to her own baby.

    Human supremacists have challenged this notion and insist that these non-human apes are merely performing mimicry, albeit at an astounding level. I've suggested many times that the way to check this would be to recruit some deaf people into the program whose "native language" is ASL. Let them talk to the gorillas and chimpanzees and tell us whether they are mimicking or really talking.

    Then I'd like to see them release some of these primates back into the jungle, where they could teach all the other members of their species to speak. How long until they develop agriculture, flint tools, stone weapons, and the ability to fight off the humans who keep encroaching on their territory?

    (One researcher was convinced when a zebra was led past the window of their lab. The gorilla had never seen such an animal before, so he signed, "Look! A white tiger!")

    Like primates, cetaceans also have large brains relative to their body size. I don't think anybody has done a thorough job of mapping one, but if they don't have a speech center, then like the gorillas and chimps they have enough capacity to deal with language in other ways. Humans are closely related to the other apes so we have a head-start in mapping their brains. But the cetaceans are most closely related to the artiodactyls (cattle, sheep, camels, hippos, deer, pigs, etc.) so we haven't got much of a road map to start from.

    We have yet to actually understand any whale sounds, but they are clearly communication. Dolphins have been studied more intensively and so far we have learned:
    • Each individual has a unique name.
    • The pod has a unique identifying call so they can find their fellows, and announce their presence to other pods. This might be something akin to a national anthem, or perhaps a university football fight song, or simply a cadence count to help stay together.
    I don't know but I've been told,
    Orca ass is mighty cold.
    Sound off one-two.
    Sound off three-four.​
  14. leopold Valued Senior Member

    it all depends on how bad the data is needed.
    it does bring up some interesting ethical issues.
    just how far should science go in search of answers?
    frankly i'm all for it, but with restrictions and just a little hedging.
  15. origin In a democracy you deserve the leaders you elect. Valued Senior Member

    Dogs do an excelent job at communicating. My dog communicates to me when she is happy, scared, excited, nervous, hungry or wants to go somewhere. I dare say if she was able to speak or we could in some other way have her more eloquently express her thoughts, they would still only be these basic thoughts.
  16. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Dogs are social animals and social animals have to be able to communicate with each other.

    Wolves only gather in small packs and once they reach adulthood they tend to regard life seriously (they stop barking, playing and wagging their tails), so this limits their need for communication prowess. But after 12,000 years of "unnatural selection" we have greatly changed the social instinct of dogs. They gather in huge packs, into which they happily accept other species, and even allow a biped to be pack leader, since he singlehandedly drags home an entire dead cow every month. They love to play and have fun until the day they die. So their communication skills are much richer than those of their ancestors, including the ability to communicate with other species.

    Well sure. Relative to body size, their forebrain is much smaller than ours, so their capacity for complex thoughts is much more limited. They have very little sense of time and continuity: When they say, "I have no idea how that turd got onto the kitchen floor," they are telling the truth.

    But don't forget love, one of the most important traits we selected for in those 24,000 generations of breeding. The love of a dog is deep, unwavering, and eternal, and survives through the most unspeakable kinds of abuse.

    Every child should have a dog. Every adult too. We both need that emotional rock in our lives. Notice how the places where dogs are not honored because they are "unclean," or where they are impractical due to urban crowding, are the most violent, backward, uncivilized places on earth.
  17. origin In a democracy you deserve the leaders you elect. Valued Senior Member

    Ain't that the truth. Talk about unconditional love. I like the bumper sticker that says "May I become the person that my dog thinks I am".
  18. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Will Rogers, one of America's greatest philosophers and humorists, said, "If dogs don't go to Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went."

    I agree. I'd much rather be reunited with all of my dogs than my parents, ex-wife, etc.

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  19. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

    SunShaker: The article you cited describes only a partial success. The transplaned brain did not have much (if any) control of the nervous system, making it almost useless. It was not clear that the memory & other functions were useful.
  20. sunshaker Registered Member

  21. CarlPro Registered Member

    I do not see how this would be possible. The organism would die before the transplantation would occur. Plus the brain structure of an animal is built to control the body it was made for, not humans.

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