1. Neuroscience
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Brain Evolution: Adaptations to extreme conditions

  1. Barbara S Beltz  Is a corresponding author
  1. Wellesley College, United States
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Cite this article as: eLife 2019;8:e50647 doi: 10.7554/eLife.50647
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The extreme environment of R. exoculata has led to adaptations of its physiology and brain.

(A) The Mid-Atlantic Ridge is the longest mountain range on Earth. It extends for about 10,000 miles and more than 90% of it is deep in the ocean. The ridge is geologically important because plates forming the earth’s crust spread apart along the Ridge, creating new ocean floor (Photograph credit: NOAA, public domain). (B) Hydrothermal fields along the Ridge release hot fluids from the earth’s core through chimneys, or vents, creating the environment where R. exoculata live (Photograph credit: MARUM − Zentrum für Marine Umweltwissenschaften, Universität Bremen - Marum, CC BY 4.0). (C and D) R. exoculata shrimps live along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge forming colonies with thousands of individuals that occupy the walls of hydrothermal vents (Photograph credits: IFREMER/Nautile6000, BICOSE 2018 Cruise) (E) Dorsal view of an individual R. exoculata. The shrimps have adapted to their environment, with large fixed eyes that may sense dim light and olfactory structures to detect chemicals. The architecture of the hemiellipsoid bodies in the brain is also complex, and could have a role in place memory (Photograph credit: Machon et al., CC BY 4.0).

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