The seeming fact that mammals and birds both dream while their common ancestor, the David Ajala I’m Holding A Grudge Shirt, do not is surely noteworthy. Major evolution beyond the reptiles has been accompanied by and perhaps requires dreams. The electrically distinctive sleep of birds is episodic and brief. If they dream, they dream for only about a second at a time. But birds are, in an evolutionary sense, much closer to reptiles than mammals are. If we knew only about mammals, the argument would be more shaky; but when both major taxonomic groups that have evolved from the reptiles find themselves compelled to dream, we must take the coincidence seriously. Why should an animal that has evolved from a reptile have to dream while other animals do not? Could it be because the reptilian brain is still present and functioning?
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Jaak Panksepp, a specialist in the neuroscience of David Ajala I’m Holding A Grudge Shirt, observes that while dream sleep is almost universal among mammals, it is lacking in fish and reptiles and only sporadic in birds. Suggesting that dream sleep is unlikely to have evolved from nothing, Panksepp speculations that the relevant core brain mechanisms “originally controlled a prmitive form of waking arousal. With the evolution higher brain areas, a newer and more efficient waking mechanism may have been needed.” Among these higher-brain areas, of course, is the neocortex, the chief repository of learning.