Evolutionary Advantages Achieved by the Myelination of Nerves

Subject: Neurology
Pages: 2
Words: 282
Reading time:
< 1 min

Myelin refers to the insulating materials around the nerves whose function is to allow the movement of electrical signals through the nerve axons at high speed. Nerve Myelination is a continuous process that begins at the embryonic stage and continues until the child is one or two years old. The main purpose of this substance in all organisms is “the speeding up of conduction in the nerve impulses by a factor of ten”.

This means that creatures that have Myelin react to stimuli and change conditions ten times faster than those without this substance. Besides, Rosenbluth states that “myelin has the advantage of providing a major improvement in the metabolic system in terms of seizing energy cost of nerve impulse traffic”. This, especially in human beings, brings about benefits such as being in a position to control weight problems. The absence of Myelin in people’s systems would mean that the rate of metabolism would never be controlled; hence gaining excess weight would not be avoidable.

This biological process has evolutionary advantages, especially on vertebrates. Myelinated nerves pave the way for stroke potential, and this increases the speed at which the signals travel through the neurons. This surges the reactions of an individual to predators and other dangerous situations. Additionally, it increases the chances of a species surviving when the only way to survive is survival for the fittest. Animals are able to develop an internal competitive advantage in terms of resources and escape from predators. These are hereditary characteristics that are passed down through the generations. As a result, the succeeding generations also acquire these characteristics resulting in evolutionary success.