Researchers measure the brain waves of free-moving octopuses for the first time
About the episode
The octopus is considered one of the most intelligent invertebrates on the planet. The animal has no skeleton, eight flexible arms that can move independently of each other, but also at the same time, and a very complex nervous system.
In the brain of octopuses you will find a large number of neurons and parts of the brain. We know little about what exactly they do, and what we do know comes mostly from experiments in which these parts of the brain were deliberately damaged to see what functions fail next.
In other animal species, brain activity is also studied by placing electrodes and measuring brain activity, but that doesn’t really work well with an octopus. Not only do their bodies lack a hard structure to attach anything to, but animals can also easily detach anything attached to them with one of their eight arms.
Now, for the first time, researchers have successfully measured the brain activity of live, freely moving octopuses for 12 consecutive hours. This was achieved by inserting electrodes and a data logger into animals in the research lab and removing them after measurement. It is not specified whether this was painful or embarrassing for the animals.
According to the researchers, it gives us important information about the general development and evolution of the brain and how it relates to behavior. The octopus brain is complex, but it evolved along a very different evolutionary path from ours. In their research, they observed brain activity comparable to that of other animal species, but also activity never seen before.
They want to study this further. But despite the fact that it can provide us with very interesting insights, you may wonder if this is reason enough to do this kind of research.
Read more about research here: Scientists Record First-Ever Brainwaves of Free-Moving Octopuses.
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