Some scientists claimed that octopuses could be aliens. While this claim may seem a bit unusual, new research into their brains continues to show just how different the octopus was, even if it wasn't of extraterrestrial origin.
Octopus brains generate complex signals that scientists don't yet understand, according to a new study published in the journal Current Biology.
The study was made possible thanks to a new technique discovered by the researchers behind the study. This new technique allowed the researchers to record up to 12 hours of brain activity. The experiment itself is groundbreaking, but as noted above, scientists aren't entirely sure what to make of the signals they've discovered in the octopus's brain.
The study's lead author, Dr. Tamar Gutnick says "octopuses are excellent animals to study" if we are to understand exactly how the brain works. Gutnick said in a statement that octopuses not only have a large brain, but also have unique bodies and enhanced cognitive abilities. Nor is it an easy task to monitor an octopus' brain activity, Gutnick says.
Because octopuses do not have skulls, their brains are enclosed in a fragile cartilage capsule. This capsule makes it difficult to place electrode implants like those needed to capture brain activity. Also, since octopuses can easily pull things out of their bodies with their long arms, it is not possible to attach them to their bodies.
So how did the scientists record the signals from the octopus's brain?
Researchers had to find a temporary solution. First, they placed a data logger and some electrodes in the octopus. This was done by making a small incision between the eyes and placing devices attached to a plastic card. In this way, they were able to insert the device directly into the brain lobes of the octopus.
By doing this, the researchers were able to get clear brain signals from the octopuses. However, they have not been able to decipher them yet. Some waves resemble mammalian brain activity, or even a bit like the human brain. Others have more foreign, longer duration, and slower-than-expected releases.
Also, its brain waves don't seem to match the octopus's behavior at all. The octopus' movements, missions, and other activities don't seem to provide a direct correlation to the waves the researchers collected, which raises more questions about these strange creatures.