Octopuses Were Given MDMA And Started Hugging Eachother

Friend or foe? A California two-spot octopus gives observers the eye at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole Mass

Scientists hypothesized the drugged octopi would be more tolerant of company, and tests showed they were.

Gül Dölen, a neuroscientist at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine who led the study, designed an experiment with three connected water chambers.

Octopuses given the drug ecstasy become more social and try to hug each other, a study has found.

"We could say the octopus brain is totally different to a human one, but we need this synapse or this neurotransmitter", Prof Dölen says. But after the genome of the California two-spot octopus (Octopus bimaculoides) was sequenced and published, scientists suspected that human and octopus brains may work the same - in one specific way.

A USA study, released in Current Biology, has made the interesting discovery that a species of octopus considered to be a solitary and asocial creature has a similar response to the drug.

American biologists have found that individuals doflamingo California octopus react to ecstasy is exactly the same as the people become more social.

Then they were placed in the experimental chambers for 30 minutes.

Scientists believe the serotonin uptake process plays an important role in the way the drug MDMA binds with brain cells and affects a user's mood. The other octopus was allowed to roam freely. Nonetheless, an octopus under the influence of MDMA is very likely to invite you into their underwater garden, while singing and dancing to The Beatles. Any given octopus is unlikely to seek out companionship from other octopuses, only coming together when it is time to mate.

A neuropsychopharmacologist at Imperial College London named Professor David Nutt said the results of this study also provide more evidence that a wide range of species experience emotion and empathy: "This just proves that this is not some peculiar human characteristic, it's not even a mammalian characteristic, it's a characteristic of brains".

"I like the fact that they've shown that a species so alien to us as an octopus has a molecule, a serotonin transporter, which can be affected by a drug which affects us, and that the drug has a somewhat similar effect on the octopus", Mainen says.

GREENFIELDBOYCE: Then they put the octopus into a tank. On the other side, again separated by a wall with a hole, was another octopus, in a cage. All four tended to spend more time in the chamber where an octopus was caged than the other two chambers. However, on a lower dose, one octopus appeared to be "doing water ballet", swimming around the tank with tentacles outstretched.

According to NPR, scientists also recently discovered, after sequencing the full genetic code of an octopus, that the "protein that binds the signaling molecule serotonin to brain cells" is nearly identical in humans and octopuses. The findings, in the journal Current Biology, stunned other researchers.



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