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Dragons May Have Dreams Too, According To Scientists

First Posted: Apr 30, 2016 04:40 AM EDT

When a dragon's eye twitches under its lids, a monitor hooked to its brain shows spikes that translate to activity. Somewhere in its subconscious, the dragon may be dreaming.

The dragon sleeps, at least that's what scientists found. They don't rest like fish and wasps -- they really do sleep. And as they also undergo rapid eye movements or REM sleep the way humans do, it too, may have dreams.

The study conducted on the Australian bearded dragons(nope, not fire-breathing ones in fairy tales or Game of Thrones, sorry), as published by Science, suggest that the concept of sleep may actually be more ancient and more widespread than they initially thought.

Neuroscientist Gilles Laurent shared that until their study, most people think that the concept of sleep only exists in birds and mammals -- not reptiles. However, as The Washington Post noted, birds, mammals, and reptiles do share the same ancestor -- dinosaurs. In fact, birds are still more closely related to dinosaurs and reptiles than they are to humans. However, it was thought that birds and mammals evolved their sleep patterns independently, which is why scientists didn't believe that dreams could also exist in reptiles, until now.

Laurent and hs colleagues hooked their bearded dragons to an electroencephalogram (EEG) and found that they have the same sleep cycles as their avain and mammalian relatives -- at some point, their brains were active as if awake, their blood pressure rose, and their eyes movied rapidly under their lids. In humans, this translates roughly to REM sleep, when dreams are likely to flourish.

However, there is no sure way to know whether or not these creatures do dream -- save an interview with a dragon. And right now, that's kind of unlikely. If they do, though, do they also dream of breathing fire and torching their nemesis?

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