Sleeping habits of Dinosaurs could have been like humans – say researchers

According to researchers, humans may have more common habits with dinosaurs and even reptiles than what has been thought earlier.

According to a new study published in journal Science, this Thursday, which monitored the activity of the brain in lizards with the help of a new technique, found that reptiles while snoozing cycle through sleep patterns in slow-wave and REM similar to birds and mammals. The study further states that possibly dinosaurs also followed a similar sleep regimen.

The findings further suggest that animals could have experienced these sleep cycles significantly earlier than what was known hitherto. Dr. Gilles Laurent, of the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt and co-author of the study, stated while addressing Huffington Post.

Dr. Gilles added further that the results of the study were surprising since the slow-wave and REM with regard to sleep is limited to birds and mammals according to prevailing views, but with the exception of non-avian reptiles. He also stated the present findings point to the slow-wave and REM patterns of sleep could date back to the common ancestors of mammals, reptiles and birds which lived some 300 million years ago.

The researchers used a type of silicon probe implanted in the forebrain of five Pogona Vitticeps or Australian bearded dragons and tracked the activities in the brain during the time the reptiles slept. The probes were themselves a new kind of device which allowed deeper recordings of activities in the brain compared to what was deployed previously.

The researchers further monitored the movement of the eye in lizards when they slept, with the help of infrared cameras and computer aided video analysis. The recordings revealed that reptiles followed a two-phase sleep pattern with one of them being a low frequency when the brain activity was of high-amplitude and other with the eye movements being rapid and brain activity similar to when the reptile was awake. Dr. Gilles added that these patterns were similar to the REM and slow-wave sleep pattern in birds and mammals.

The study further pointed out that human sleep cycles tend to be longer apart from the fact that humans prefer to wrap around cozy cotton sheets and have the luxury of a warm shower before sleep. The duration of human sleep cycle was put at between 60 and 9 minutes while the sleep cycle for cats 30 minutes and just about 80 seconds in the case of lizards.