Of the approximate 8.7 million species on planet Earth, octopuses are among the most bizarre. These eight-legged brainiacs can camouflage themselves in the blink of an eye, can unscrew themselves out of sealed jars, and have not one but three hearts. Weirder yet, octopuses are now understood to be able to change their genetic code. And after studying their DNA, a group of scientists are making a shocking claim that they might be aliens… yes, aliens.
The University of Chicago organized the first genome sequencing ever conducted on octopuses. “The octopus appears to be utterly different from all other animals, even other molluscs, with its eight prehensile arms, its large brain and its clever problem-solving abilities,” said Dr Clifton Ragsdale, a researcher from the University of Chicago.
The team found a remarkable complexity with some 33,000 protein-coding genes identified, which is 10,000 more than is found in a human. They found that its DNA is highly scattered and unorganized, like a shuffled deck of cards. Furthermore, their genetic code possesses a number of “jumping genes” that hop around the genome. These are such findings that led a group of researchers to believe octopuses are perhaps not of this world.
(Read more about their findings in Meredith Placko’s article