Octopuses are very strange creatures, unlike anything else on this planet – but could they actually come from another world?
A controversial science paper has argued just that, suggesting that octopuses may have arrived on our planet as frozen eggs carried here in comets.
The paper, by 33 scientists (some with reputations as mavericks) is published in the peer-reviewed journal Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology, Cosmos magazine reports.
The paper can be seen here.
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It suggests that ‘life was seeded here on Earth by life-bearing comets’ as soon as it became possible for life forms to survive – and that octopuses arrived in a similar way about 270 million years ago.
The idea of alien life spreading like ‘seeds’ through space isn’t new – the theory is known as ‘Panspermia’.
But the authors point to new DNA evidence about octopuses.
The first full genome sequence of octopus DNA in 2015 showed that octopuses are totally different from all other animals – and their genome shows a striking level of complexity with 33,000 protein-coding genes identified, more than in a human.
The paper says, ‘The genome of the Octopus shows a staggering level of complexity with 33,000 protein-coding genes more than is present in Homo sapiens.
‘It is plausible then to suggest they seem to be borrowed from a far distant “future” in terms of terrestrial evolution, or more realistically from the cosmos at large.
‘One plausible explanation, in our view, is that the new genes are likely new extraterrestrial imports to Earth – most plausibly as an already coherent group of functioning genes within (say) cryopreserved and matrix protected fertilized Octopus eggs.’
Octopuses inhabit every ocean at almost all depths and possess a range of features that call to mind sci-fi aliens.
These include prehensile sucker-lined tentacles, highly mobile, camera-like eyes sensitive to polarised light, sophisticated camouflage systems that alter skin colour and patterns, jet-propulsion, three hearts, and the ability to regenerate severed limbs.