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Octopus Research Yields Insight Into the Evolution of Sleep

Because the last common ancestor of vertebrates, including humans, and cephalopods, including octopuses, lived more than half a billion years ago, it seems unlikely their similar sleep patterns were established before their evolutionary divergence, the researchers said. That would mean, they added, that this similar sleep pattern arose independently in the two groups, a phenomenon called “convergent evolution.” “The investigation of sleep and dreaming in the octopus gives us a vantage point for the psychological and neurobiological comparison with vertebrates, since the octopus possesses several sophisticated cognitive features that are only seen in some vertebrate species but with a very different brain architecture,” said study co-author Sidarta Ribeiro, founder of the Brain Institute.

 

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