The fields of science and technology hold untold potential when it comes to the future of humanity. Space tech could eventually help us find new homes among the stars, while more down-to-earth science brings us new medical advances every year.
Chinese scientists have already found the secret to cloning living organisms, and now, a team of researchers may have uncovered a way to -- briefly -- resurrect some small part of a creature after it has already passed away.
As reported by Nature, the researchers in question were able to restore basic cellular function to a pig's brain four hours after the unfortunate creature's head had already been severed from its body.
This was not accidental on the researchers' part. The team used a system called "BrainEx," which is essentially a "network of pumps and filters," to send a non-coagulating, haemoglobin-based, oxygen-carrying solution into the pig's brain as a replacement for blood. Amazingly, the solution worked on some level.
However, to be clear, "cellular function" does not equate to sentient life - quite the opposite. The creature was nowhere near "living" in the traditional sense of the word, and its brain activity was far below the minimum threshold for consciousness, which apparently begins in the 8-12 Hz range.
To ensure they didn't torture the creature, scientists say that if they had picked up on consciousness-like brain activity, they would have instantly reduced the brain temperature to "quell" it, thus preventing any feeling of panic or pain.
Nature says the team did not violate any ethical guidelines regarding the treatment of research animals, and followed all of the rules laid out by Yale University's Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. The pig in question was not killed by researchers - it was already dead and intended to be used for food before arriving in their care.