A recent study in the scientific Journal Nature into the genome of the common octopus has concluded that our eight-armed, three-hearted, color-changing buddies are “something like an alien.”
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Clifton Ragsdale, a neurobiologist of the University of Chicago said “The octopus appears to be utterly different from all other animals, even other molluscs, with its eight prehensile arms, its large brain and its clever problem-solving capabilities. The late British zoologist Martin Wells said the octopus is an alien. In this sense, then, our paper describes the first sequenced genome from an alien.”
One of the strangest things that the scientists couldn’t figure out was: “how the cephalopods, a class of free-floating molluscs, produced a creature that is clever enough to navigate highly complex mazes and open jars filled with tasty crabs.” The octopus genome is almost as complicated as the human genome and is unlike any other creature on earth. According to neurobiologist, Benny Hochner at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the study is aimed at gaining “insights into how the sophisticated cognitive skills of octopuses evolved.”
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Clifton Ragsdale went on to say, “The octopus genome makes studies of cephalopod traits much more tractable and now represents an important point on the tree of life for comparative evolutionary studies. It is an incredible resource that opens up new questions that could not have been asked before about these remarkable animals.”