Our Instincts: Memories from Our Ancestors?

Without instincts, no living creature could survive on our planet. This seemingly inherent set of skills tell us when to sleep, eat, mate, and even breath. Instincts also keep us safe when we are in danger. And since most animals do not have higher thinking abilities, they rely solely on instincts to keep them alive in the wild. Yet, scientists have yet to figure out exactly where this instinctual life support system comes from or why all living creatures have it.

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However, there has been exciting discoveries in DNA research in recent years that are currently shaping a new theory about where instincts come from. This new research suggests our instincts come from millions of years worth of memories that are stored within the building blocks of all living creatures…our DNA.

Even though scientists throughout history have contemplated the idea of a collective memory system, it wasn’t until recently that researchers discovered evidence within genetic material that might explain how instinctual nature is formed by unconscious memories in our cells.

Memories That Last Forever

It has been understood for many decades now that our genetic makeup is at least partially responsible for things like eye and hair color, intelligence, or athletic ability for instance. Now, scientists are starting to realize the unimaginable amount of information contained in our DNA might include actual memories that have been passed from our ancestors.

There is strong evidence that cells can indeed process and store memories. Organ transplant patients for instance can sometimes recall memories from their donor’s lives, even though they had never met before. This phenomenon has been well documented by a number of researchers who have published case studies regarding cellular memory.

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These findings, among others, suggest that memories are not created and stored only in our brain, as previously thought, but are also stored within every cell of our body, right down to our DNA.

The Secrets of DNA

The study of DNA is a relatively new field which leaves plenty of room for discoveries. While we have managed to map part of the human genome, 98.8 percent is referred to as “junk DNA”. In other words, we have no idea why it’s there or what its function is.

Also called noncoding DNA, scientists used to believe it served little to no purpose. But that idea is rapidly changing with new discoveries that have revealed amazing insights into the information contained within our genome.

If part of this so-called junk DNA actually contains memories that are passed down from our ancestors, it would answer so many age-old questions that humans have struggled with for centuries. It would not only explain how and why instincts developed in living creatures, but would also lend credence to mysterious human experiences like strange phobias, past life memories, and psychic insights.

Do we learn from our genes

How is it that baby animals know where to go and what to do as soon as they hatch. For example baby sea turtles rush to the ocean. We already know that memories are not stored in one portion of your brain. They are distributed throughout your brain and certain events might even have backups. It is a known fact that if you lose a portion of your brain you do not lose all your memories. Our brains change all the time. A lot of our instinctive behavior might actually be genetic.

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Scientists have discovered that specific types of information can be passed on. A study was done on mice to get an electric shock each time they smelt cheese. The mice obviously became afraid of that scent. These mice were allowed to breed and turns out their off-springs were afraid of that smell from birth. Also the DNA of the sperm before and after the experiment was different. The next step would be to map and compare the before and after DNA.

Do major organs have minor brains in them

Our brain may not be the only place where memories are stored. Patients that have undergone recent heart transplant surgeries have told of instances where they get cravings for a certain types of food. Further research has shown that those foods were favorite food of their donors.

Other common recorded quirks have been changes in temperament, attitude, vocabulary, philosophies, patience levels, and tastes in music, food and turning from couch potatoes to fitness freaks.

Clearly there is a link here. It makes us think if memories can be passed on from a transplant how much of our memories are getting passed on through our DNA.

Evolution in Progress

Charles Darwin discovered that animals adapt to their environment by changes that happen slowly throughout many generations. And even though Darwin’s theories were groundbreaking, there is still a lot to learn about how evolution works.

Cellular memory research could certainly contain some missing pieces of the puzzle. While Darwin proved that animals do indeed evolve, his theory failed to explain how this process takes place. If our DNA is actually encoded with memories from our ancestors, it would explain how animals are able to miraculously adapt to their environment and become better with each passing generation.

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These ancient memories, if they exist, are clearly not consciously accessible to us. They are silently passed down for thousands of years in order to aid in the progression of the human race, along with every other species on earth.

Visions for the Future

In all likelihood, it will take hundreds of years to decode the information embedded within the genetic material of living things. And to be perfectly honest, we might not ever get all of the answers we are looking for. But it’s hard to believe that over 98 percent of our genome has absolutely no use. It is much more likely that it contains just as much, if not more, information than the 1 percent we have been able to identify so far.

While research into cellular memory still has a long way to go, the search is off to a good start and is making scientists around the world rethink where our instincts actually come from.

 

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