Octopuses are among the smartest animals on the planet—and some of the strangest. They have about the same number of neurons as dogs, but more than half of those cells are distributed across the slippery cephalopods’ eight arms rather than contained in a central brain.

As researchers report on June 8 in Cell, the neural anomalies only get more bizarre from there. Octopuses, they found, have the ability to recode their neurons in response to temperature shifts so those cells produce different proteins. Like people adjusting their clothing to match the weather outside, octopuses edit their RNA, which is a genetic molecule that carries DNA’s instructions to produce proteins—the workhorses of cells. The researchers suspect those “brain edits” help octopuses adapt to heat or cold when the seasons change. And they do this to “an extraordinary extent,” says co-senior author Joshua Rosenthal, a biologist at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass. Read rest of the article here.

Source: Octopuses Redesign Their Own Brain When They Get Chilly | Scientific American