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Genes Confirm: Octopuses Are Brainy and Weird

Octopuses are known to be brainiacs — they can mimic flounder in a flash, unscrew themselves out of a sealed jar and even use coconut shells to build a mobile home. And now, for the first time, scientists have sequenced the genome of the eight-legged rock star, revealing how its complex noggin evolved.

Determining how octopuses’ brains and bodies evolved “represents a first step to understanding these really cool animals at a new level,” said Caroline Albertin, the lead researcher on the study and a graduate student studying evolution of animal development at the University of Chicago. “Having the genome represents having a tool kit that the animal draws on as it builds [its] really remarkable body and develops all these, really, very cool, behaviors,” Albertin said.

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