Sure, we've all heard a lot about the zombie apocalypse by now. People seem to love thinking about how they might fare in the event of exanimated beings coming back to life. Bookstores are full of zombie survival guides, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) even published guidelines for what to do in case of a zombie outbreak.
As it turns out, however, we may be preparing for the wrong scenario. Instead of spending so much time worrying about zombies, we should be more concerned with the potential of an octopus uprising. After all, as far as we know, zombies don't exist (yet), but octopus facts tell us the sea creatures are evolving every day. And they can be freaking scary - in fact, we have reasons to think that octopuses might be alien life-forms living in our oceans.
Zombies have remained the talk of the town for a while, but we should be keeping a wary eye on our seas instead of graveyards. The octopus apocalypse might be far scarier than any zombie revolution.
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An Octopus's Ability To Contort Means There's Nowhere To Hide
It is nearly impossible to hide from or even trap an octopus. Octopuses are boneless, meaning they can contort their bodies into all sorts of different shapes and sizes. The only hard structure in the body of an octopus is its beak.
This means an octopus can squeeze through just about any opening, including holes as small as its eye.Is this scary?
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Octopuses Can Walk On Land
For the most part, octopuses are stuck in the ocean while humans are safe on land, but this is not the full story. The Abdopus octopus of Australia can come to the surface to hunt, even moving from one tidal pool to another as it searches for prey.
The Abdopus is not the only octopus that people have spotted on dry land, either. Octopuses in aquariums have reportedly snuck out of their tanks at night to feed on fish from other tanks. In 2017, a baffling mystery occurred in Wales involving dozens of octopuses marching out of the ocean night after night, for no discernible reason.
Perhaps they were practicing for a forthcoming cephalopod incursion.Is this scary?
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Octopuses Can Edit Their RNA
Most animals evolve through mutations in their DNA, but cephalopods take a different approach. While their genome remains relatively static through generations, they instead use enzymes that allow them to edit their RNA to diversify their proteins and easily adapt. In fact, a study published in the Nucleic Acids Research journal in March 2020 confirmed the "longfin inshore squid are the first known animals that can edit messenger RNA outside the cell nucleus."
There is some evidence to suggest this was perhaps a conscious choice somewhere in their evolution. While this means octopuses and other cephalopods evolve more slowly than other animals, it does give them an unsettling level of control over their genetic adaptability that could be a significant advantage in the event of an octopus uprising. Until then, scientists are hoping to use this information to further improve genetic medicine.Is this scary?
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Octopuses Are Highly Intelligent
Octopuses aren't merely smart for invertebrates - they're smart in ways that we have previously only observed in animals like birds, mammals, and, of course, humans. Their large, complex brains involve folded lobes and possibly even lateralization, which was long thought to be something only found in the minds of vertebrates. Thus, they have the capacity to solve intricate problems - even ones they wouldn't normally encounter in the wild - store memory, experience curiosity, and perhaps display distinct personalities from one octopus to another.
Octopuses, when presented with different kinds of food sources, use a variety of techniques to get at their prey, suggesting that, if they set those big brains to it, they could potentially form equally complex plans to hunt human prey as well.Is this scary?