Meanwhile, Anderson has been investigating another phenomenon little-noted in invertebrates: sleep. Until recently, only vertebrates were believed to sleep in the full metabolic sense. But Anderson has observed that octopuses, ordinarily hypervigilant, may sleep deeply. Their eyes glaze over, their breathing turns slow and shallow, they don't respond to light taps, and a male will let his delicate ligula—the sex organ at the tip of one arm—dangle perilously.
Stephen Duntley, a sleep specialist at Washington University Medical School in St. Louis, has videotaped similar slumber in cuttlefish, with a twist: Sleeping cuttlefish lie still, their skin a dull brown, for 10- to 15-minute stretches, then flash bold colored patterns and twitch their tentacles for briefer intervals. After viewing Duntley's footage, Anderson suggests the cuttlefish might merely be waking to check for threats. But Duntley says the cycling resembles the rapid eye movement sleep of birds and mammals, when humans dream. If invertebrates undergo a similar cycle, Duntley argues, it would affirm "that REM sleep is very important to learning." Would it also suggest that cuttlefish and octopuses dream? "That's the ultimate question," Duntley responds.
YELLOWFISH;96303 said:That's what I am getting at. If octos can exhibit such intelligence despite a complete lack of culture and a short lifespan. Imagine what those brains might be capable of if they were on par with human lifespans. And better still, if they somehow developed a means of passing this knowledge and skill base on from one generation to the next.
YELLOWFISH;96303 said:And better still, if they somehow developed a means of passing this knowledge and skill base on from one generation to the next.