We were finally able to record the brain waves of octopuses


What do octopuses think? The question has always baffled neuroscientists: This species is so smart and so different. For the first time, we have successfully inserted electrodes into an individual. And the 12-hour recording shows that yes, these species develop a different kind of cognition.

Weekend science publication With Hervé Poirier, Editor-in-Chief of the magazine epsilon Delightful information based. We were able to record the brain waves of an octopus.

franceinfo: So this news is a hell of a performance and a hell of a promise at the same time. Explain to us.

Herve Poirier: This recording takes us for the first time into the most amazing brain on the planet – perhaps beyond our own. Because an octopus can create complex social interactions, organize underwater cities, decorate the entrance to its den with anemones, hide in shells, and open a jar.

They are even able to learn how to handle the tool, simply by watching a video tutorial intended for humans, one researcher told us, amazed. And all this contains 150 times fewer neurons than us, divided into nine brains, a central brain and one for each arm. But, yeah, for the first time, we’ve been able to record this amazing member’s performance!

Why haven’t we gotten there yet?

For a simple reason: octopuses do not have a hard exoskeleton to hold equipment on. In any case, she methodically removes everything related to her body with her graceful arms. But an international team of biologists has found the solution.

They anesthetized three specimens living in captivity, implanted an EEG recorder, originally intended for migratory birds, under their skin, attached it to the muscular wall surrounding the brain, and immersed electrodes in one of the lobes, which they believed to be a human brain. Dedicated to learning and memory.

It is enough to record the neural activity of an octopus for 12 hours, synchronized with a high-resolution video of its behaviour. Great first!

so what ? What does the octopus think?

Well, the researchers acknowledge, it’s too early to tell…the device is working, and classic neural activity dynamics have been identified, but the researchers haven’t been able to link these brain activities to specific behaviors or tasks—and that’s what they want to do now.

They still detected a very strange signal, slow, large and very long oscillations, not previously described in any brain. typical octopus thought? has. Exploration has just begun. Like an encounter of the third kind, with extraterrestrial intelligence.


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