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Letters to Nature
Nature 229, 118 - 119 (08 January 1971); doi:10.1038/229118a0

Selective Neurone Death as a Possible Memory Mechanism

RICHARD DAWKINS

Department of Zoology, University of Oxford

IT is a widely deplored fact that every day many thousands of our brain cells die and, unlike other types of cell, are never replaced1,2. I suggest that this may not be a purely destructive process, as is normally supposed, but may represent a mechanism for one of the brain's most constructive functions, memory or information storage.

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References

1. Brody, H., J. Comp. Neurol., 102, 511 (1955).
2. Burns, B. D., The Mammalian Cerebral Cortex (Arnold, London, 1958).
3. Darwin, C. R., On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection (1859).
4. Pringle, J. W. S., Behaviour, 3, 174 (1951).
5. Diamond, M. C., Krech, D., and Rosenzweig, M. R., J. Comp. Neural., 123, 111 (1964).
6. Diamond, M. C., Law, F., Rhodes, H., Lindner, B., Rosenzweig, M. R., Krech, D., and Bennett, E. L., J. Comp. Neurol., 128, 117 (1966).
7. Andrew, W., J. Comp. Neurol., 70, 413 (1939).
8. Andrew, W., and Cardwell, E. C., Arch. Path., 29, 400 (1940).



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