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Title:Thinking Like an Octopus
Author(s):Tran, Andrew
Contributor(s):Brown, Jeffrey W.
Subject(s):Molecular and Integrative Physiology
Abstract:The goal of the research project is to better understand the development and organization of the peripheral nervous system of the octopus. These creatures have large ganglion in each of their arms; two thirds of the octopuses neurons are actually located in the arms nerve cords. Illustrated in the picture, the cluster of Octopus bimaculoides embryos shows early signs of intelligence. The baby octopi rapidly change color and texture using their specialized, color changing cells known as chromatophores. The minute the larvae hatched, they immediately were able to use their highly organized arms to see and mimic their surroundings. The arms also appear to work independently from one another and even serve different purposes. One arm may specialize in capturing food while the other is used for locomotion. In essence, each arm appears to have a mind of its own. Octopuses are intelligent animals, rivaling the brainpower of vertebrates such as dolphins and monkeys. Unlike these animals, octopuses are invertebrates. Understanding their intelligence may give clues to what features of the mind are universal and which are unique for different species. Awarded Honorable Mention in the Undergraduate Image of Research Contest 2015. For more information about the Image of Research--Undergraduate Edition go to:
Issue Date:2015-04
Rights Information:Copyright Andrew Tran
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-04-30

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