Select your localized edition:

Close ×

More Ways to Connect

Discover one of our 28 local entrepreneurial communities »

Be the first to know as we launch in new countries and markets around the globe.

Interested in bringing MIT Technology Review to your local market?

MIT Technology ReviewMIT Technology Review - logo

 

Unsupported browser: Your browser does not meet modern web standards. See how it scores »

An MRI image of a tarantula colored to highlight the heart in the posterior part of the body. Credit: Gavin Merrifield

By putting a live tarantula into a special MRI scanner designed for rodents and other small animals, researchers discovered that the spider appears to have a unique heart beat.



“In the videos you can see the blood flowing through the heart and tantalisingly it looks as though there might be ‘double beating’ occurring, a distinct type of contraction which has never been considered before. This shows the extra value of using a non-invasive technique like MRI,” said researcher Gavin Merrifield, in a press release from the Society for Experimental Biology. Merrifield presented the research today at the society’s annual conference in Glasgow.

Researchers say that using this technology to study live animals could bring greater insight into their physiology and behavior. “One potential practical use of this research is to ascertain the chemical composition of spider venom,” says Mr. Merrifield. “Venom has applications in agriculture as a potential natural pesticide. On the more academic side of things if we can link MRI brain scans with a spider’s behavior, and combine this with similar data from vertebrates, we may clarify how intelligence evolved.”

0 comments about this story. Start the discussion »

Tagged: Biomedicine, imaging, MRI

Reprints and Permissions | Send feedback to the editor

From the Archives

Close

Introducing MIT Technology Review Insider.

Already a Magazine subscriber?

You're automatically an Insider. It's easy to activate or upgrade your account.

Activate Your Account

Become an Insider

It's the new way to subscribe. Get even more of the tech news, research, and discoveries you crave.

Sign Up

Learn More

Find out why MIT Technology Review Insider is for you and explore your options.

Show Me
×

A Place of Inspiration

Understand the technologies that are changing business and driving the new global economy.

September 23-25, 2014
Register »