After studying an octopus' genome, scientists concluded that the intelligent creatures are basically aliens.
You learn at a young age that octopuses have eight tentacles… and that’s about it. Unless inspiration hits to research more about the many-legged creatures, the fact that they have an enormous head and three hearts usually goes unnoticed.
But that’s not where the cool facts concerning this species end. Recently, scientists studying the genetic code of octopi discovered that they are “something like an alien.”
Said Clifton Ragsdale, a neurobiologist of the University of Chicago to UChicago News:
“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.”
According to Nature, by studying the creatures’ unusually large DNA sequence, researchers were able to understand “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.”
In scientists’ latest study, they found that the genome of an octopus is as large as a human’s. It was also discovered that octopi (an English variation of referring to the species in plural) also have 33,000 protein-coding genes – that’s about 8,000 more than humans!
What that means…
This means that newly discovered genetic traits are the most likely reason octopi can manipulate light and are highly adapted to camouflage.
“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,” Ragsdale said. “It is an incredible resource that opens up new questions that could not have been asked before about these remarkable animals.”
By seeking to understand their genome, scientists can receive “insights into how the sophisticated cognitive skills of octopuses evolved,” says neurobiologist Benny Hochner at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
While everyone was looking toward the night sky for proof of aliens, it seems they should have instead been scouring the oceans.
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