Calamari-velous Creatures

Who do you think would win a chess game? You or … an octopus?


This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.


Humans and octopuses both possess exceptional intelligence when compared to other animals. But how similar are we really?


Researchers from the Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn Napoli in Italy investigated. They wanted to know whether octopus “smarts” come from the same genetic place as ours!

Almost half of the human genome is made up of a type of DNA called transposons. They’re special because they can MOVE to other places in the genome! One unique kind of transposon is thought to be associated with thinking in humans! 


The scientists investigated what genetic information is being used in different parts of bodies. They found that octopuses have the SAME unique type of transposon active in THEIR brains! The activity is also happening in BOTH species in parts of the brain responsible for learning and cognition! 


Boy! These animals have the tenta-COOLest brains!


Petrosino, G., G. Ponte, M. Volpe, I. Zarrella, F. Ansaloni, C. Langella, G. Di Cristina, S. Finaurini, M. T. Russo, S. Basu, F. Musacchia, F. Ristoratore, D. Pavlinic, V. Benes, M. I. Ferrante, C. Albertin, O. Simakov, S. Gustincich, G. Fiorito, and R. Sanges. 2022. Identification of LINE retrotransposons and long non-coding RNAs expressed in the octopus brain. BMC biology 20:116.