Sunday, March 3, 2024

Do octopuses dream of predators?

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Maria Gill
Maria Gill
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The theory is not extravagant: in the laboratory and in zoos, researchers have been able to observe many animals dreaming. Anyone who has a dog can also attest to the restless movements — and in some cases, small sounds — that he can make while he’s asleep.

Moreover, the octopus is a creature famous for its cognitive abilities – some have been able to open a jar, find their way through a maze – it wouldn’t be surprising if it could be added to the list. The problem has always been that I sort of prefer going to sleep in a hidden place, which isn’t ideal for notes. Placing electrodes on an animal without a skeleton and changing its shape yields little useful information.

In Costello’s case – he’s a male of the type octopus insularis– sleeps in the corner of the tub, in full view; It only shares space with smaller fish. The footage shows the animal, in the thick of its sleep, suddenly flapping its tentacles, “inflating” itself to appear larger, and releasing that black, ink-like substance: all things octopuses do to scare off predators, researchers at Rockefeller University in New York State note, in their research It was previously released on May 12th.

It can be the equivalent of what we call home – and in a lot tothe animals– the Paradoxical sleep – It is characterized by rapid movement of the eyes behind the eyelids or, in English, REM (rapid eye movement). Studies in neuroscience have also linked him to distinct brain activity, which is however difficult to establish in Costello, in the absence of technologies capable of monitoring his brain activity.

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In the last yearsOctopus studies male Some change color and movements during sleep, although no startling behavior like Costello’s has been reported.

With just one animal, it is It is too early to draw any conclusions on the “normal” or “exceptional” nature of such behaviour. But researchers interested in the diversity of animal intelligence have a new reason to be interested in octopuses…

Photo: Andra Waagmeester/Wiki Commons/ CC0

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