The social squid lighting system is so much more like design than Darwinism that it is hard for researchers to maintain Darwinian bafflegab and still make sense:
More interesting than “the evolution of” the squid is the nature of the light-producing organs themselves. They look positively designed:
“Numerous small subcutaneous (s.c.) photophores (bioluminescent organs) embedded throughout the muscle tissue make the entire body glow, thereby backlighting the pigmentation patterns. Equipped with a mechanism by which complex information can be rapidly relayed through a visual pathway under low-light conditions, our data suggest that the visual signals displayed by D. gigas could share design features with advanced forms of animal communication.”
A single squid may have hundreds of these organs. The photophores are oriented not to shine outward but to illuminate pigment patterns on the skin, making the whole creature cast its pattern to the others. Compare this to how bats communicate in the dark with sound clicks, each distinct enough to avoid collisions. Nature comments on the light show, saying that the squid flash each other when approaching their own kind.
“But when squids pursued prey, they dimmed themselves. Then, just before striking, they suddenly flashed a splotchy pattern by lighting up organs beneath intermittently pigmented parts of their body.”
It’s the last freaky thing the prey would ever see under the sea. Evolution News, “Squid’s Got Talent — Super-Powers Astonish Scientists” at Evolution News and Science Today
Abstract: Visually cued animals that inhabit the deep sea must signal to one another in order to facilitate group behaviors, yet the capacity and mechanisms for information transfer in such a dimly lit habitat are largely uninvestigated. By examining in situ behavioral footage of the Humboldt squid, Dosidicus gigas, we demonstrate the potential for a deep-living social animal to visually convey and receive large quantities of information by combining complex pigmentation patterning with whole-body luminescence. Our findings reveal a capability for information sharing comparable to advanced forms of animal communication known from well-lit habitats. This may have important implications for ecosystem processes, as information sharing between abundant predators is involved in energy and nutrient transfer throughout the world’s oceans.
Still not amazed? Did you know that some consider the squid a “second genesis of intelligence?”
Some think that a clue might lie in an oddity of the octopus’s genes. The octopus has a very large genome and can edit their own genomes, altering their RNA. They “ do not always follow their genetic instructions to the letter:”
“In humans, tweaking is rare – restricted to a handful of brain gene recipes. In the squid, the majority of brain recipes received this treatment. Many of them were related to proteins found at the synapses, the microprocessors for memory and learning.
Could this extemporising with brain protein recipes be important for soft intelligence? It’s a tantalising idea. “Coleoids show it. Nautilus – the stupid cousin – does not, it’s like any other mollusc,” says Eisenberg. – Elizabeth Finkel, “How the octopus got its smarts” at Cosmos
Some think that this editing ability might have slowed down the octopus’s evolution (thought to have started about 100 million years ago) by random processes. That calls into question how much evolution is due to random processes anyway. – Mind Matters News
And scientists clash over why octopuses are smart?
For many years, we’ve been trying to understand why the octopus is uniquely smart among cephalopods. Research answers some questions only to raise others, as a recent controversy shows.
YouTube offers a number of illustrations of octopus intelligence: solving puzzles, using tools, and escaping a closed jar, to point to a few.
A 2018 study (open access) sought to discover why octopuses are unusually intelligent—and this year another study disputed the findings. The issue is thorny because octopuses obey none of the rules for animal intelligence. Intelligent animals are supposed to be social animals that live a long time. That makes sense; managing relationships requires some intelligence and brains take a long time to mature. As Ed Yong notes in The Atlantic, apes, elephants, whales, and dolphins, crows and other corvids, and parrots (all vertebrates) share these traits. But the intelligent octopus shares the physical traits of the “dim-witted dynasty” of snails, slugs, clams, oysters, and mussels that are its own relatives. And it breaks the behavior rules for other smart life – Mind Matters News
Smart like people? No. But too smart for nonsense about natural selection acting on purely random mutation (Darwinism) to make sense. Nature is full of intelligence that is evidence of design.