Video may show an octopus waking up from a nightmare, scientists believe – DNyuz

Video may show an octopus waking up from a nightmare, scientists believe

Scientists observed unusual behavior in an octopus that they said looked similar to it waking up from a nightmare.

The cephalopod, named Costello, was filmed 24 hours a day in a laboratory at The Rockefeller University in New York over the course of a month.

On four occasions, the animal awoke “abruptly,” before engaging “in antipredator and predatory behaviors,” changing color, and flailing his arms around erratically, researchers said in a paper published last week on the website bioRxiv.

In two instances, the octopus sprayed black ink onto the surface of the water – a tactic used to escape predators – despite the fact that there was no predator around.

The behavior suggested that it was in temporary distress, which scientists said could suggest he was responding to a bad dream.

“It was really bizarre, because it looked like he was in pain; it looked like he might have been suffering, for a moment,” Eric Angel Ramos, one of the researchers, told Live Science.

“And then he just got up like nothing had happened, and he resumed his day as normal.”

When Costello came to the laboratory from the wild, he appeared to have suffered severe injuries, including losing the majority of two of his arms, which researchers said was likely due to a previous attack. Costello could have responded to the memory of an attack, according to a study which found that such attacks in animals can result in “long-term behavior and neural hypersensitivity.”

The study has not yet been peer-reviewed and only observed one octopus, but the findings have raised questions about the possible dream-like experiences of these intelligent creatures.

One of the co-authors said that it was difficult to determine if an octopus actually dreams by studying its brain activity.

“How can you attach electrodes to an animal with no form? Marcelo Magnasco told New Scientist .

Scientists published a study in 2021 about octopuses’ sleep and found evidence of a human-like sleep cycle. The researchers found that the animal’s skin changed in a manner similar to humans’ rapid eye movements (REM), which occurs during sleep.

Another scientist who was not involved in observing Costello said the strange behavior could have another explanation, however.

Robyn Crook, an associate professor of biology at San Francisco State University, told Live Science that the octopus’ behavior could have been due to senescence, which is when an octopus’ body starts to break down before death.

Costello died shortly after these episodes, according to Live Science.

Crook stated that Costello’s movement in the video was due to an apparent lack of motor coordination, which could be a sign of senescence.

“I don’t exclude that senescence could be one of the drivers of this,” Ramos told Live Science.

The study’s authors noted that the results couldn’t be considered conclusive until replicated. As the episodes in question were fleeting, the scientists recommended that future researchers also observe octopuses for 24 hours a day using cameras.

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