Octopus Says Science is Getting Weird

As much as we like to admit that western culture of scientific research has proved to be beneficial for the world but it’s getting weirder as well. Maybe the science has discovered almost everything that now ‘drugs effect on animals’ is all left to figure out. Yes! Current Biology Researchers at Johns Hopkins University hopes that animals on drugs may give insights how social behavior has evolved.

Ecstasy (MDMA) is a common drug among humans consumed in scenarios to become a more social butterfly. Ecstasy is responsible for the increased release of serotonin in human brain that makes them easy going and sociable.

Although, an octopus brain structure is different in comparison to human brain unlike our similarities with chimpanzee brain. In the natural habitat octopus is not only an intelligent but also a solitary animal with a tendency to prey on each other even just after mating (just like humans, eh?). But ecstasy made the specie sociable enough that they wanted to give each other a hug!!



How was the research conducted?

Neuroscientist Gül Dölen designed the experiment with three connected water chambers.The octopus was trapped in one the container, the other container had a octopus toy. Scientist measured the time other four octopuses spent with animal in tank and time spent with toy, separately.

Then through gills they absorbed the liquified version of MDMA (ecstasy) and were placed back into the tanker. According to the results the four octopus (exposed to MDMA) started spending more time with the other octopus but it is not certain that drugs were wholly responsible for behavior, focusing the doubt that may be the octopus were friendlier because of the familiar tank. Ideally, it will be retested on large amount later.

“they intended to hug the cage and put their mouth parts on the cage. this is very similar to how human response to MDMA; they touch each other frequently” said the neuroscientist.

Weirdness and jokes apart, although, the nerve cells in octopus that react to serotonin are found in arms but  the study suggest that chemicals in brain may be the key to social behaviour. Professor Harriet de Wit of university of Chicago who has as well studied the effects of ecstasy on animals finds this innovative and exciting.

This research might  soon spark an animal protection debate/movement. The supply/consumption of drugs is an unethical and dangerous act, be it for humans or animals.


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