The comparison between humans and apes is expected at this point. Many studies have been done about the evolution and the connection between the two. However, there is another animal that humans share an unlikely similarity with, and it is the octopus.
Octopuses are often nicknamed monsters of the deep. Their appearance is quite menacing, with bulging eyes, eight long tentacles, and rounded bodies. They usually live in deep areas of the ocean and use their tentacles as weapons. If octopuses ever feel threatened, they release an inky fluid around them. They also have the ability to change the color of their skin to camouflage into their surroundings. On the surface, it seems impossible that there could be any similarities between humans and these sea creatures. How could we have anything in common with animals who live underwater in the deepest and darkest parts of the ocean? However, scientists have discovered a similarity that even surprised them, and it has to do with our brains.
Octopus brains have a reserve of microRNA in their neural tissue, which humans have as well. MicroRNA is a group of molecules that help cells control the type and amount of proteins they make. In other words, it helps with gene expression, which tells cells if they are making too much, too little, or just the right amount of protein. A team of scientists led by systems biologist Nikolaus Rajewsky was behind the discovery. They studied samples from 18 dead octopuses and sequenced RNA from the Octopus Vulgaris, which is the common octopus. The scientists found 164 microRNA genes grouped into 138 microRNA families in the common octopus. They were primarily found in the brain and neural tissue. Octopuses are brilliant animals, which lead the scientists to hypothesize “that RNA regulation may play a major role in the cognitive success of this group.”
There is still so much to be discovered about the connection between humans and these fascinating creatures. Click here to read the complete study. And stay tuned for more breaking news from the world of science.