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Not to make this into a National Geographic paper, but there is a new scientific paper published in March 2018 on the peer-review journal Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology, which suggests that Octopus might be an alien creature masquerading as an earthling.

You have to admit, you must find its big head, huge eyes that look like they’re staring before doing something sinister, and slithery tentacles look straight out of an alien movies. Perhaps we should not blame the octopus for looking alien-ish, we should blame Hollywood for making so many octopus-inspired green alien little men with big head, greenish and slithery bodies.

The scientific paper was co-written by 33 authors including the renowned immunologist Edward Steele and astrobiologist Chandra Wickramasinghe. The scientists suggests that the creature octopus might be alien, and they go forth to present several features to support this claim:

The genetic divergence of Octopus from its ancestral coleoid sub-class is very great… Its large brain and sophisticated nervous system, camera-like eyes, flexible bodies, instantaneous camouflage via the ability to switch color and shape are just a few of the striking features that appear suddenly on the evolutionary scene…

It is plausible then to suggest they (octopuses) seem to be borrowed from a far distant ‘future’ in terms of terrestrial evolution, or more realistically from the cosmos at large.”

The paper has no doubt raised an interesting conversation, but one, nonetheless controversial. Ephrat Livni from Quartz questions the very basis of the researchers’’ finding arguing:

To make matters even more strange, the paper posits that octopuses could have arrived on Earth in ‘an already coherent group of functioning genes within (say) cryopreserved and matrix protected fertilized octopus eggs.’ And these eggs might have “arrived in icy bolides several hundred million years ago.’

The authors admit, though, that ‘such an extraterrestrial origin…of course, runs counter to the prevailing dominant paradigm.’ Indeed, few in the scientific community would agree that octopuses come from outer space. But the paper is not just about the provenance of cephalods. It proposal that octopuses could be extraterrestrials is just a small part of a much more extensive discussion of a theory called ‘panspermia,’ which has its roots in the ideas of ancient Greece.”

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