Aquatic creatures hold many secrets so the researchers thought it would be a good idea to unravel some of them. From the abundance of marine wildlife biologists chose the octopus to be their test subject so they broke its DNA to see what it contained.
After completely sequencing their genome, scientists came to an unexpected conclusion that octopuses are totally distinct from any other animals on Earth. The results yielded staggering numbers over 33,000 protein-coding genes were identified. That’s more than human beings have.
(Scientists can’t agree on 14 or 25,000 genes)
The Doctor. Clifton Ragsdale, a researcher at the University of Chicago, offered extra details on the importance of this discovery. “The octopus appears to be totally different from all other animals, even other molluscs, with its eight prehensile arms, its large brain and its intelligent problem-solving skills.”
Octopuses are known for their extreme intelligence.
With 168 genes that regulate neuron development, nearly double the number found in any mammal, and a neural grid consisting of 1/2 billion neurons spread from head to prehensile arms, the octopus can easily outrun most marine creatures.
Its curious nervous system branches out into its elongated arms and if one is dismembered the octopus is still able to use its cognitive abilities as if it had an individual nervous system in each of its arms. The Octopus DNA left scientists with the feeling that it was highly rearranged, similar to a shuffled deck of cards. This conclusion was based on the fact that the octopus’ genetic code was discovered to be composed of a series of transposons, or “jumping genes” that jumped through the genome changing its structure.
“With a few notable exceptions the octopus basically has a typical invertebrate genome that has just been completely reorganized as if it had been put in a blender and mixed,” said Caroline Albertin, a marine biologists at the University of Chicago.
“This leads to genes being placed in new genomic environments with different regulatory elements and was a totally unexpected discovery.”
Another interesting feature of this aquatic wonder is its ability to blend in seamlessly with its surroundings. This chameleon-like behavior is triggered by six protein genes called “reflectins,” which impact the way light reflects off the octopus’ skin, transforming it into varied patterns and textures that camouflage the octopus.
Part of the coleoid subclass of molluscs are octopus, cuttlefish and squid. These creatures evolved over a period of over 500 million years and are known to inhabit almost all bodies of water at almost all depths.
Their adaptability consists of extremely flexible and fluid bodies, an insane visual system that allows them to perceive colors even though they are colorblind and of course their native camouflage technique.
Octopuses have been labeled “alien” since British zoologist Martin Wells studied them, but Charles Mudede cautions against interpreting the “alien as a DNA issue” but rather as a diversity issue.
“But no matter how crazy an animal’s DNA may seem, it’s probably from this planet if its cells contain the energy-generating organelles called mitochondria,” Mudede wrote.
With all this “out of this world” evidence in hand, it’s hard not to see the supernatural characteristics of octopuses especially their ability to redesign their DNA for a perfect life experience and extreme survivability. Could this just be a complex and misunderstood evolutionary process? Or were these tentacled invertebrates brought to Earth from somewhere else in the universe by some unknown civilization that we can only speculate about?
Whatever the case, it is certainly interesting to imagine these unusual beings as the former companions of an aquatic alien species from the remote past. We cannot safely assume that this was the case, but at the same time it is difficult to deny the ‘alien’ implications of this story.