Termed the “Second Brain” by Dr. Michael Gershon, the enteric nervous system is a collection of over 100 million neurons embedded within the lining of the gastrointestinal system. While this amount of neurons actually pales in comparison to the brain’s 100 billion, the neural tissue formed by these neurons constitutes an intricate and autonomous system that plays a big role in all vertebrates.
Scientists theorize that the enteric nervous system originally evolved to locally control motility, blood flow and secretion in the digestive system. This way, “The brain in the head doesn’t need to get its hands dirty with the messy business of digestion,” Gershon told Scientific American. Two brains, it seems, are better than one.
Full article here.
(Via Maverick Philosopher)