Sentient Octopi Feel Complex Emotions
Octopuses experience not just physical pain but emotional pain, a new study suggests.
The octopus is one of the most enigmatic and fascinating sea creatures. These animals are considered by biologists as the invertebrates with the most complex nervous system on the planet. And a new scientific study suggests something even more surprising about octopuses: they can experience not only physical pain but emotional pain as well.
No one ever explained the octopuses. Gail Carriger
The discovery, made by neurobiologist Robyn Crook of San Francisco State University. The discovery was disclosed in a recent scientific paper in the journal iScience. “Unlike nociception, which is a simple (reflex) response, pain is a complex emotional state that encompasses anguish and suffering and generally requires a highly complex nervous system,” explains the researcher. According to observations made by Crook during his analysis, octopi, like vertebrate animals, exhibit cognitive and spontaneous behaviors indicative of affective pain experience.
The Cephalopods have hundreds of suckers, each equipped with its own ganglion with thousands of neurons. These ‘mini-brains are interconnected, making for a widely distributed nervous system. That is why a severed octopus’s arm may crawl on its own and even pick up food. Frans de Waal
In tests carried out in the laboratory, the scientist used the same methods used with rodents to demonstrate the association between pain and neural activity – the injection of some substances into the skin of these animals.
“Although many previous studies on cephalopods and other invertebrates have shown that they can learn to avoid a situation that will cause pain, here, octopuses were able to learn to avoid a visually specific location that was explicitly unbound in time and space. Furthermore, the injection procedure that initiated the activation of the nociceptor”, he highlights.
The Octopus Teacher, a documentary that is an eye-opener
The revelation made by Robyn Crook reminds me of one of the most beautiful documentaries I’ve seen to date. It’s called “My Octopus Teacher,” which is available on Netflix. The film shows the unbelievable friendship that occurs between a diver and photojournalist and… an octopus!
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