Neuroscientists discover how squids and octopuses got their big brains

(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists from the United States are closer to unraveling the mystery of the most intelligent invertebrates. They learned how their brain is formed and what vertebrates have to do with it.

Cephalopods, which include squid, octopus and cuttlefish, are considered among the most intelligent invertebrates.

The ratio of their brain mass to body mass is the largest among invertebrates, and the nervous system is the most complex.

These creatures are able to process information quickly, changing the shape, color and even texture of their body, merging with the environment.

They can also communicate, show signs of spatial learning, and play: octopuses in aquariums have been known to toss bottles and toys into whirlpools and then catch them.

Characteristic of cephalopods and instrumental behavior . However, science still does not know for certain why these animals have such a developed brain.

The authors used a new near-real-time imaging technique (series of images ten minutes apart) to literally observe the creation of neurons in the embryo of the squid Doryteuthis pealeii, a well-known model organism in neuroscience.

Then they looked at how these cells fit into the nervous system. Tracked cells were stained with fluorescent dyes.

What the scientists saw surprised them. The nerve cells behaved suspiciously similar to how vertebrates do during the development of their nervous system.

But the ancestors of both separated from the common line about 500 million years ago, so scientists believed that vertebrates have their own mechanism for the formation of brain cells.

Nevertheless, the fact remains that cephalopods and mollusks not only use similar mechanisms to create their intellectual organ, but the very tissue of nerve cells is similar in size, organization, and the way the nucleus moves.

Going forward, the team plans to study how different cell types emerge in the cephalopod brain.

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