The octopus is an extraordinary being, not just because of its eight limbs, three hearts, its blue blood, the ink that it spews out to defend itself, its ability to camouflage, and the tragic truth of its death after mating.
A study published by researchers in Brazil on Thursday showed that this marine animal, which may already be considered the smartest invertebrates, has two main patterns of alternating sleep that are very similar to those in humans, and that he may even dream like him.
The researchers said these findings provide new evidence that octopuses possess a complex and sophisticated nervous system that forms the basis for a repertoire of equally sophisticated behaviors, while also providing a broader view of sleep development, an important vital function.
The octopus was known to sleep and change color during sleep. In the new study, researchers put a type of it known as insularis under observation in a laboratory. And they found that this color change is related to two distinct sleep states, “quiet sleep” and “active sleep.”
During “a quiet sleep” the octopus remains still, its skin is pale in color and its eyes are almost closed. During “active sleep,” he changes the color and texture of his skin and moves his eyes while his body shrinks and muscle spasms occur.
The researchers noted that this was repeated during sleep. “Quiet sleep” usually lasts about seven minutes, compared to less than a minute for “active sleep”.
The researchers added that this cycle appears to be similar to “rapid eye movement” and “slow eye movement”, which are two sleep patterns in humans as well as other mammals, birds and reptiles.
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