ehr, nine brains?

Discussion in 'Physiology and Biology' started by enrico, Oct 7, 2005.

  1. enrico

    enrico Cuttlefish Registered

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    hi.
    slightly embarrassed to be asking this question but here goes.. (i know nil about octopuses, though i plan to do something about that:)

    i've been hearing these stories about octopuses having nine brains, -one "mainframe" and then 8 more, -one in each tentacle. however, i haven't been able to dig up any information on the web that confirms this claim.. well, not on any reliable sites at least. and it seems kinda too wild be true.. :shock: is this just a popular misconception stemming from the fact that octopuses seem to have more "decentralized" forms of control mechanisms and a complex nervous system, or is it actually a fact?

    sorry for the ranting, i haven't got the foggiest about what i'm talking about,
    please bear with a newbie :grin:
     
  2. Fujisawas Sake

    Fujisawas Sake Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Supporter Registered

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    :welcome: to TONMO.

    First off, that was a VERY good question.

    Well, I wouldn't say nine actual "brains" per se, but there are clusters of ganglia in the arms that probably do a lot of sensory and motor processing on their own, reporting to the Central Nervous System and brain as needed.

    A lot of people write about the many "brains" of octos. I think this is mostly to dazzle the laymen a bit. This article, is a bit better, but what is really worth noting is that this adaptation is a lot like how our own vertebrate brain works; we have a lot of sensory and motor functions outsourced by the brain to the nerves. In no way am I trashing the aforementioned article; its just that we vertebrates do the same thing and tend to take it for granted. Makes we wonder who is convergent with whom...

    Octos also have an actual brain, and a cartilaginous skull - this cephalization is a MAJOR adaptive change from other members of its phylum. The gathering and change of its cranial nerves into a brain offers an interesting look into its behavioural ecology and natural history.

    THIS LINK may offer some information.

    Hopefully this was of some help...

    John
     
  3. Graeme

    Graeme Vampyroteuthis Registered

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    eh!? I thought that for the most part, octopuses were vitrually free of hard parts, 'cept those 9 spp of NZ octopuses?

    But yeah, regarding the brains; they are ganglia, which are a swelling of the nerve bundles, if my memory serves me correctly. I expect that they can't use 'em to think, but the senses in the arms will be highly developed, as well as motor control.

    Graeme- gah! tis too early for me... and I have to get on with my hons proj!:cry:
     
  4. enrico

    enrico Cuttlefish Registered

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    hi!
    i'm anything but well-versed in the terminolgy of bio-/physiology, but i thought "cartilaginous" meant exactly that it isn't hard but rather soft and tissue-like, as opposed to "calcareous"...?? :hmm:
     
  5. enrico

    enrico Cuttlefish Registered

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    it sure was, and thanks for the pointers, they made for some truly fascinating reading. one thing though, -am i right in taking what you said about octopuses here to also apply to cephalopods in general? (please pardon the noob factor :smile:)
     
  6. Fujisawas Sake

    Fujisawas Sake Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Supporter Registered

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    Yeah... cool, isn't it? In Invertebrates by Gary and Richard Brusca, the Brusca brothers mention a rudimentary cartilaginous skull surrounding the brain case. "Hard" or "soft" in this case is pretty much up to you, but its nothing that can hinder the octopus' movement much. It also should be noted that this level of cephalization is usually reserved for those animals needing to protect their brain! I think that's badass, considering that this is a mollusc.
     
  7. Graeme

    Graeme Vampyroteuthis Registered

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    err, yeah you're right, I feel really stupid now that I've actually read that word properly :oops:
    Cartilage is, in fact, essentially soft bone that hasn't been calcified. Makes up a shark's skeleton. Why on Io did I think that it was a hard substance!? Oh well, must've been the day I was having...:razz:

    Graeme
     
  8. Graeme

    Graeme Vampyroteuthis Registered

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    wow! Could this indicate some sort of (almost) higher intelligence? Sure, it's well known that they can problem solve etc, butcould the need to protect its faculties mean that it's maybe on par with most decent-sized mammals? I dunno- too early in the morning for me to make sense!

    Graeme
     
  9. CapnNemo

    CapnNemo Vampyroteuthis Supporter

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    Mate, it was 09:59 (UK) when you posted that! I'm impressed.:lol:
     
  10. OB

    OB Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    On octopus intelligence

    I failed to launch significant interest in the "recently" discovered mimic octupus in another thread :wink: so maybe this one might pick up on it, as it's (a lot) less off topic here. :oops:

    http://marinebio.org/species.asp?id=260

    http://www.oceanfootage.com/stockfootage/Mimic_Octopus/

    If you look at available footage on the web, it is uncanny how "ambidextrous" this little octopus is, each arm feeling it's way around the surface clearly gives off the impression of a dedicated neural circuit governing each, whereas the mimic behaviour halmarks an impressive level of integration at the behavioural (central) level. The only thing that gets me is that with molluscs, the smarter they get, the more shortlived they seem to be, in total contrast to vertebrate analogies. Clams may grow to well over a hundred years, whereas the average cuttle or octopus doesn't make it past two. :boohoo:
     
  11. Graeme

    Graeme Vampyroteuthis Registered

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    Aye well, I'd been in uni since about 20 past, so it's not really that impressive, but my brain doesn't quite kick in til about 10, back of 10, unless I NEED to be in for 9, then it's pretty much ticking away at... oh... 9:20! :lol:

    Oh, the joys of higher ed!

    Graeme
     
  12. Fujisawas Sake

    Fujisawas Sake Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Supporter Registered

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    You know, I'm not really sure about the squid, so I would have to answer "no" to that at the moment. Steve O'Shea might be a better resource for that.

    John
     
  13. Fujisawas Sake

    Fujisawas Sake Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Supporter Registered

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    The trend in evolution, especially where cephalization is concerned, is that when more resources are concentrated towards the formation and maintenance of a "brain", the result will also lead to a means to protect said brain. I honestly think that intelligence is a side-effect, or result, of having a more centralized brain and greater processing capability, but that's only my opinion.

    Yeah, I get the impression that octos may be pretty smart; perhaps on par with some mammals, but how to accurately measure that level of intellect is beyond me.
     
  14. Graeme

    Graeme Vampyroteuthis Registered

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    But if intellegence is a side-effect, then why bother maintaining the brain and "upgrading" it to work more? Evolution is a weird thing. Could it maybe be that cephalisation and growth of "intellegence" go hand-in-hand? I know that the probable reason for cephalisation is probably to develop the senses, but there needs to be something to keep on par with the senses in order to be able to process them, and define them.
    Yeah, Cephalopods are smart, no doubt about it (especially octopuses), but I reckon that their display of it is so alien that maybe we can't ever understand. Put it this way, sure they can manipulate objects etc, but can you imagine trying to pick up and move, say, a stone with a long flexible arm instead of what we have? it'd be just a bit weird for us to comprehend, I reckon. This may come out a garbled rubbish, but it's difficult to try and convey what I'm trying to get at. They truly are an alien organism, eh?
    Graeme
     
  15. main_board

    main_board Vampyroteuthis Supporter

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    Just a point of clarification: what do you mean when you say "cephalization"?

    Cheers!
     
  16. OB

    OB Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    It indicates the headward tendency of parts in phylogenetic development; the tendency of the centers to move forward, and of organs to become innervated from centers more anteriorly placed. From cephalon, (latin for) greek for head, as in: cephalopod ("Head foot") or encephalon ("in the head"; brain).
     
  17. Fujisawas Sake

    Fujisawas Sake Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Supporter Registered

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    D'oh! Sorry... Should have clarified a little...
     
  18. Graeme

    Graeme Vampyroteuthis Registered

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    I thought it always meant "the formation of a functional head"... Meh, must be the studenty description... with finger puppets and all!:lol:

    Graeme
     
  19. OB

    OB Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    Get carried away sometimes on precision...

    Asperger? :confused:
     
  20. Graeme

    Graeme Vampyroteuthis Registered

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    Nah, dude. That's a good thing. It gives us so-called studiers of zooness a kick up the proverbial jacksie into using beter definitions.

    Hans Asperger? :confused:

    Graeme
     

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