The outer space octopus theory

Here’s something fun for Wednesday evening. What with the recent news that the government wants to spend money looking for extraterrestrials, what if we already have some aliens living right under our noses? (Well… under our boats anyway.) Another scientific study has been released offering the controversial claim that there’s a decent chance the octopus (and the rest of the cephalopods) arrived on Earth in the form of frozen eggs 250 million years ago and actually evolved on another world. (Express UK)

The paper suggests that the explanation for the sudden flourishing of life during the Cambrian era – often referred to as the Cambrian Explosion – lies in the stars, as a result of the Earth being bombarded by clouds of organic molecules.

But the scientists go on to make an even more extraordinary claim concerning octopuses, which seem to have evolved on Earth quite rapidly something like 270 million years ago, 250 million years after the Cambrian explosion…

“One plausible explanation, in our view, is that the new genes are likely new extraterrestrial imports to Earth – most plausibly as an already coherent group of functioning genes within (say) cryopreserved and matrix protected fertilized Octopus eggs.

“Thus the possibility that cryopreserved Squid and/or Octopus eggs, arrived in icy bolides several hundred million years ago should not be discounted as that would be a parsimonious cosmic explanation for the Octopus’ sudden emergence on Earth circa 270 million years ago.”

This wasn’t the first group to suggest it. In 2015 another research group reached a similar conclusion. The more you read into it, the less crazy it sounds. As we’ve studied the various animals on the planet in ever deeper detail, the octopus really doesn’t seem to fit in with everything else.

They’re an invertebrate, but they have 10,000 more protein-coding genes than a human being. They have problem-solving skills, they use tools and have been observed constructing a shelter out of things like broken coconut shells. (Not just using a shelter they find, the way crabs do, but actually building something.) And where did that instant camouflage ability come from? Their nervous system is almost entirely unique among animals.

And they just don’t look right. Most of the animals you see on the land, in the water or in the air follow a basic pattern. There’s a central body with four protruding limbs and a head of some sort. Even the animals like snakes that don’t appear to have legs have vestigial limbs inside. The insects made the switch to six legs but the basic layout is still the same. (Don’t get me started on the centipedes. They’re probably from another world also.) And then there are the cephalopods. Eight to ten limbs sticking out of a central mass with a huge brain, eyes with structures resembling a camera (like ours, actually) and a host of other differences.

If you happen to be a fan of the theory of panspermia, is it really such a crazy idea? Dormant cells get blown out into space on some other planet, hitch a ride on some rocks and debris and survive in a dormant state until they crash land someplace else where they can take root. Maybe that explains why the octopus is just so darn weird.

In any event, if you want to amuse yourself for a couple of minutes, check out this octopus changing color and texture dozens of times in a row to match his environment as he moves along the ocean floor. It’s beyond amazing.

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Jazz Shaw 5:31 PM on February 04, 2023