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Inside the mind of the octopus

Inside the mind of the octopus
Inside the mind of the octopus by Sy Montgomery Photograph: Brandon Cole ON AN UNSEASONABLY WARM day in the middle of March, I traveled from New Hampshire to the moist, dim sanctuary of the New England Aquarium, hoping to touch an alternate reality. I came to meet Athena, the aquarium’s forty-pound, five-foot-long, two-and-a-half-year-old giant Pacific octopus. For me, it was a momentous occasion. Many times I have stood mesmerized by an aquarium tank, wondering, as I stared into the horizontal pupils of an octopus’s large, prominent eyes, if she was staring back at me—and if so, what was she thinking? Not long ago, a question like this would have seemed foolish, if not crazy. Only recently have scientists accorded chimpanzees, so closely related to humans we can share blood transfusions, the dignity of having a mind. I had always longed to meet an octopus. The moment the lid was off, we reached for each other. Occasionally an octopus takes a dislike to someone. Then there was Wendy.

http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/6474/

Related:  animals are not cute; but their behaviour is fun science

Muriqui monkey mothers are key to sons' sexual success There's nothing quite like having mum around when you're trying to get it on with a lady. That is if you are a male northern muriqui monkey, according to a study by anthropologists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. According to behavioural studies of wild muriquis combined with genetic data, sexually mature males get helpful access to mates by the mere presence of their mothers and other maternal kin. The northern muriqui is a large, long-lived, socially complex and critically endangered primate -- with only 1,000 animals left in the world, in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. Karen Strier and her colleagues have studies the monkey for almost 30 years.

Shot of young stem cells makes rapidly aging mice live much longer and healthier, researchers report Mice bred to age too quickly seemed to have sipped from the fountain of youth after scientists at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine injected them with stem cell-like progenitor cells derived from the muscle of young, healthy animals. Instead of becoming infirm and dying early as untreated mice did, animals that got the stem/progenitor cells improved their health and lived two to three times longer than expected, according to findings published in the Jan. 3 edition of Nature Communications. Previous research has revealed stem cell dysfunction, such as poor replication and differentiation, in a variety of tissues in old age, but it's not been clear whether that loss of function contributed to the aging process or was a result of it, explained senior investigators Johnny Huard, Ph.D., and Laura Niedernhofer, M.D., Ph.D. Dr. As the progeria mice age, they lose muscle mass in their hind limbs, hunch over, tremble, and move slowly and awkwardly.

Potentiality and actuality The concept of potentiality, in this context, generally refers to any "possibility" that a thing can be said to have. Aristotle did not consider all possibilities the same, and emphasized the importance of those that become real of their own accord when conditions are right and nothing stops them.[3] Actuality, in contrast to potentiality, is the motion, change or activity that represents an exercise or fulfillment of a possibility, when a possibility becomes real in the fullest sense.[4] Potentiality[edit]

Real Life Werewolves? Dog Bites and Full Moons Happy Halloween! I decided to revise and repost this piece from November 1, 2010, on dog bites, full moons, and confirmation bias. Click the archives icon to see the original post. Evolution of complexity recreated using 'molecular time travel' Much of what living cells do is carried out by "molecular machines" -- physical complexes of specialized proteins working together to carry out some biological function. How the minute steps of evolution produced these constructions has long puzzled scientists, and provided a favorite target for creationists. In a study published early online on January 8, in Nature, a team of scientists from the University of Chicago and the University of Oregon demonstrate how just a few small, high-probability mutations increased the complexity of a molecular machine more than 800 million years ago. By biochemically resurrecting ancient genes and testing their functions in modern organisms, the researchers showed that a new component was incorporated into the machine due to selective losses of function rather than the sudden appearance of new capabilities.

Pale Blue Dot Quotes by Carl Sagan “From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of particular interest. But for us, it's different. Consider again that dot. That's here, that's home, that's us. Cold-Blooded Cognition: Social Cognition in a Non-Social Reptile? Earlier this week, scientist Anna Wilkinson won an IgNobel prize for her research on contagious yawning (really, the lack thereof) in red-footed tortoises. In case you’re not familiar with them, the IgNobel Prizes are given for research that “first makes you laugh, then makes you think.” Read Scicurious’s coverage of the awards here.

29+ Evidences for Macroevolution: Part 1 Prediction 1.1: The fundamental unity of life According to the theory of common descent, modern living organisms, with all their incredible differences, are the progeny of one single species in the distant past. In spite of the extensive variation of form and function among organisms, several fundamental criteria characterize all life. Some of the macroscopic properties that characterize all of life are (1) replication, (2) heritability (characteristics of descendents are correlated with those of ancestors), (3) catalysis, and (4) energy utilization (metabolism). At a very minimum, these four functions are required to generate a physical historical process that can be described by a phylogenetic tree. If every living species descended from an original species that had these four obligate functions, then all living species today should necessarily have these functions (a somewhat trivial conclusion).

octopus challenes our understanding of consciousness itself by electronics Nov 3

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