Wouldn’t that mean that they had an even more complex nervous system?
New research led by scientists at the American Museum of Natural History and Yale shows that the oldest ancestors of the group of animals that includes octopuses and vampire squids had not eight but 10 arms. The study, which describes a new species of vampyropod based on a 328-million-year-old fossil that had not been previously described, pushes back the age of the group by nearly 82 million years…
“The arm count is one of the defining characteristics separating the 10-armed squid and cuttlefish line (Decabrachia) from the eight armed octopus and vampire squid line (Vampyropoda). We have long understood that octopuses achieve the eight arm count through elimination of the two filaments of vampire squid, and that these filaments are vestigial arms,” said Whalen. “However, all previously reported fossil vampyropods preserving the appendages only have 8 arms, so this fossil is arguably the first confirmation of the idea that all cephalopods ancestrally possessed ten arms.”American Museum of Natural History, “New species of extinct vampire-squid-like cephalopod is the first of its kind with 10 functional arms” at ScienceDaily (March 8, 2022)
Note: Apparently, the fossil, Syllipsimopodi bideni, is named after U.S. prez Joe Biden.
According to the study, the oldest known definitive vampyropod was found in a fossil fragment that was 240 million years old, so the researchers mostly expected to find cephalopods that were evolutionary precursors to vampyropods. Instead, they discovered what they say is a relative of vampyropods and octopuses, which serves as evidence that these animals lived on Earth 82 million years earlier than previously thought. This would mean that octopuses were around before the era of dinosaurs, reports the Guardian.Natalia Mesa, “Ten-Limbed Octopus Ancestor Described, Named After Biden” at The Scientist (March 10, 2022)
Question: If evolution is supposed to be the Darwinian claim: “daily and hourly scrutinizing, throughout the world, every variation, even the slightest; rejecting that which is bad, preserving and adding up all that is good; silently and insensibly working, wherever and whenever opportunity offers, at the improvement of each organic being in relation to its organic and inorganic conditions of life,” why do we hear about so much stasis and so little about evolution? The evolution must be happening very fast, punctuated by long periods of stasis.
The paper is open access.
Note: One reason given for the unusual intelligence for which the octopus is noted is the need to control so many limbs. Anyway, see
Octopuses get emotional about pain, research suggests. The smartest of invertebrates, the octopus, once again prompts us to rethink what we believe to be the origin of intelligence. The brainy cephalopods behaved about the same as lab rats under similar conditions, raising both neuroscience and ethical issues.
Is the octopus a “second genesis” of intelligence?
You may also wish to read: Stasis: Life goes on but evolution does not happen