Science is close to being able to explain why octopuses are intelligent animals

Octopuses are considered masters of camouflage because within milliseconds they can change the color, texture, and even shape of their skin to mimic those of other animals.

Octopuses are an exceptional living creature. He has a very complex mind and his cognitive abilities are unique among invertebrates. But there is something about the mystery and behavior of octopuses that has brought them closer to humans than any other animal in the ocean.

This convergence has prompted hundreds of scientists across the planet to dedicate and dedicate their lives to uncovering the evolutionary reason behind their intelligence and the molecular mechanisms that determine it.

So far, these investigations have yielded some interesting data. In addition to studies confirming their ability to learn, their ability to solve simple problems and their enormous cognitive versatility, there are now some recent studies that indicate that, as happens with humans, their brain goes through different cycles during their sleep, in which the octopus dreams and changes color. In addition, a second study confirmed that these animals can “taste” anything that passes through their claws without having to put it in their mouths. This helps them create features of their environment and turns our concept of the five senses on its head because in an octopus touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing seem to be combined into one.

With more than 700 species living in most of the world’s waters, octopuses have managed to separate and become more complex than any other mollusk.

Some theories suggest that the ancestors of octopuses lost their shells 275 million years ago, which made it possible for the animal to explore places that previous species could not find and thus forage. The loss of their shell also left them more vulnerable to predators, so they had to come up with more creative solutions to hide and run. Such as, for example, the use of snails and shells to wrap themselves or change their colour, texture and shape and thus lose themselves in the environment.

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Also, octopuses seem to be able to form lasting bonds with people. Whether the octopus won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2021 in the documentary My Teacher, in which a director establishes a connection with one of these animals in the wild on the coast of South Africa; Or the book Soul of the Octopus, in which a researcher recounts the true events of her friendship with three octopuses at the Boston Aquarium. Both are recent examples of interactions between species that baffle scientists.

All these elements, as well as the playability that these animals have shown in various studies, make them a very captivating object for scientific study. Which, as often happens, always generates more questions than answers.


Aileen Morales

"Beer nerd. Food fanatic. Alcohol scholar. Tv practitioner. Writer. Troublemaker. Falls down a lot."

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