Sure, octopuses are lovely and unique creatures, but an unusual new theory suggests these sea dwellers are actually aliens.
According to a Newsweek report, a group of scientists believes the intelligent eight-armed cephalopod mollusks arrived on earth as eggs from outer space. The idea comes from the theory of panspermia, which suggests that tiny life forms, viruses, and microbes travel through space on comets. When the space rocks collide with habitable planets, the organic matter in them thrives on the new host planet.
New research published in the Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology explores the theory that such a collision happened on Earth 540 million years ago causing a mass extinction event and giving rise to all manner of new species that were seeded on Earth from the icy comet in that impact. The era, called the Cambrian Explosion, gave rise to a massive burst of biodiversity on the third rock from the sun.
The paper’s authors used the octopus to put forth their somewhat fanciful theory, Live Science reported. The reason? The octopus possesses a complex nervous system, sophisticated eyes, and the ability to camouflage, which emerged suddenly.
They believe these extraordinary, extraterrestrial features came about one of two possible ways. First, fertilized octopus eggs may have hitched a ride on an icy comet and then thrived on earth. Second, a virus on the comet may have infected early squid, which caused a rapid evolution into octopuses.
A group of 33 scientists agreed with the findings in the article in a literature review, which consisted of conjecture and an analysis of their own works. Others firmly disagreed. One reason for their disagreement? In 2015, scientists mapped the octopus genome. With that, they learned that the octopus nervous system split from that of the squid a mere 35 million years ago, which is far closer than the Cambrian Explosion 540 million years ago.
While the octopus certainly qualifies as strange and unusual, it doesn’t require an alien ancestry to explain it. Terrestrial history is rich enough with so many amazing things that happen in nature to explain the creature that occasionally predicts the outcome of sporting events. Many scientists disagree with the idea that octopuses are aliens. For now, the proof isn’t there.