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Insects and crustaceans ‘more alike than we thought’
Mantis shrimp.

Study could aid in the understanding of brain evolution

Shrimps, lobsters and crabs have more in common with their insect cousins than previously thought, according to new research.


Scientists at the University of Arizona found that both insects and crustaceans possess mushroom-shaped brain structures, known in insects to be required for learning, memory and negotiating complex environments.


The study, published in the journal eLife, contradicts a widely-held scientific belief that these brain structures - known as “mushroom bodies” - are absent from crustacean brains. 


"The mushroom body is an incredibly ancient, fundamental brain structure," said Nicholas Strausfeld, professor of neuroscience at the University of Arizona. “When you look across the arthropods as a group, it's everywhere."


Crustaceans and insects descend from a common ancestor that lived about half a billion years ago.

Scientists believe the misunderstanding that crustaceans do not have mushroom bodies is because of a more evolutionary “modern” group of crustaceans. They say that many lobsters and crabs in this group have brain centres that do not look anything like the insect mushroom body.

While the mushroom bodies appear more diverse than those of insects, brain analysis of crustaceans revealed that their defining neuroanatomical and molecular elements are all there.

Researchers hope the study will aid in the understanding of how brains may have evolved and what environmental conditions shaped that process. 

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The Kennel Club appoints new chief executive

News Story 1
 The Kennel Club has announced the appointment of Mark Beazley, who was previously Cats Protection's director of operations, as chief executive. Mark replaces Rosemary Smart, who stepped down from the role in April after 18 years.

Mark has held several senior strategic and executive roles, including executive director at Dogs Trust Ireland and chair of the Companion Animal Working Group at Eurogroup for Animals. He was also heavily involved in the establishment of the Eu Cat and Dog Alliance.

Mark will take up his new role in October. 

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International Cat Care appoints new head of veterinary division

International Cat Care (ICC) has announced the appointment of Nathalie Dowgray as head of the charity's veterinary division.

Nathalie, who is an RCVS advanced practitioner in feline medicine, will lead the International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM) and a play key role in advancing knowledge and research in feline medicine.

Claire Bessant, iCatCare's chief executive said: "We're absolutely delighted to be welcoming Nathalie to the charity. She brings a depth and breadth of feline expertise and understanding which fits perfectly with the charity's work and development, and her enthusiasm for cats is infectious."