There is something in common with man. Scientists have mapped the visual system of octopuses
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Study reveals striking similarities and differences with the human visual system.
Humans and octopuses are descended from the same ancestor, but our paths diverged about 500 million years ago. Scientists have studied how our visual systems have evolved over millions of years to solve the same problems, writes Science Alert.
A group of scientists from the University of Oregon made a bold attempt to be the first in the world to map the optical lobe of the octopus brain, they they succeeded. To do this, scientists examined more than 26,000 cells collected during the autopsy of two young California two-spotted octopuses (Octopus bimaculoides).
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During the study, scientists found that the visual system of octopuses and humans has striking similarities and differences. For example, despite our different morphologies, lifestyles, and habitats, vertebrates and soft-bodied cephalopods have independently developed pupils and lenses that direct light to the retina.
Soft-bodied cephalopods, which include octopuses, cuttlefish and squid, have the largest brains of any invertebrate. Curiously, two-thirds of their central processing tissue is solely responsible for vision.
Scientists have found that the skin of an octopus contains the same pigment proteins as its eyes. As a result, the skin allows him to “see” the details of the environment and camouflage himself if necessary.
In a study of thousands of octopus cells, scientists found that the brains of young octopuses were fully functional, but it seemed that the cells were still in the process of growing. Scientists note that a third of all neutrons distributed in the visual lobes looked like they were still developing.
The researchers studied octopus cells and came to the conclusion that they can be divided into four groups, each of which is responsible for certain chemical signals, such as the release of dopamine, acetylcholine, glutamine, and dopamine and glutamine together. Curiously, these neurotransmitters are also found in our own brains.
In addition, scientists have found that a ring of cells around the human optic lobe produces octopamine, which is closely associated with the hormone norepinephrine. This neurotransmitter has also been found in cephalopods, but scientists do not yet know what exactly octopamine does to octopuses.
The visual system of cephalopods is similar to the optical system of vertebrates – it is arranged in layers. However, they function very differently – scientists have found that the variety of cell types and the way they are organized in the brain is fundamentally different from the human.
Scientists believe that the atlas of the octopus optical system they created will help scientists to learn more about How does the visual system of cephalopods work? In the meantime, scientists have been able to discover a number of unique genetic transcription factors and signaling molecules that are inherent in octopuses. They apparently help shape the nervous system of cephalopods.