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At Mind Matters News: Jumping genes … a new clue to octopus intelligence?


Despite being very different, the human brain and the octopus brain share the same sort of jumping genes:

How did octopuses and some of their close kin among the cephalopods get so smart? Theories about how mammals and birds got to be smart may not work here.

A recent paper adds a little more information to the controversy. Studying the common octopus and the California octopus, researchers found that the same “jumping genes” are active in the octopus brain as in the human one — even though the two types of brain are very different. Jumping genes, of which there are many types, can move from one place in the genome to another…

News, “Jumping genes … a new clue to octopus intelligence? ” at Mind Matters News (July 20, 2022)
The octopus brain is very different.

Takehome: Formerly thought of as “junk DNA,” their mobility may help explain unique problem-solving abilities. “I literally jumped on the chair…” one researcher said.

You may also wish to read: If octopuses are really smart, should we eat them? Proposals to farm octopuses are meeting with opposition on grounds of animal cruelty. Underlying the ethical issues is the admitted fact that the evolution of animal intelligence, however it happened, is nowhere near as tidy as we once believed.


Is the octopus a “second genesis” of intelligence?


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