Originally published on GalaxyMonitor.com
According to a variety of news outlets the Octopus arrived on Earth millions of year ago in the form of frozen eggs aboard comets.
Reported on the Express and The Australian, a reference to a paper in Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology, suggests that Octopus DNA came from outer space.
“Thus the possibility that cryopreserved Squid and/or Octopus eggs, arrived in icy bolides several hundred million years ago should not be discounted as that would be a parsimonious cosmic explanation for the Octopus’ sudden emergence on Earth circa 270 million years ago.”
The Cambrian explosion began 270 million years ago, and the octopus began appearing rapidly 250 million years ago which lead the authors to come to a conclusion that “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.”
Another possible conclusion is that this is merely a highly sensationalized headline taken out of context. After days of searching, we finally located the actual paper. Yet, none of the publications whom write about the study actually reference any link – and a search on the Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology website does not yield any results.
Karin Moelling of the Max Planck Institute Berlin and Institute of Medical Microbiology, Zurich, said the article was worth thinking about, “yet the main statement about viruses, microbes and even animals coming to us from space, cannot be taken seriously,” she said.
It’s important to note that the study in question does not make the octopus the key focus of the investigation. The word Octopus is only mentioned 23 times in the lengthy passage and the authors themselves note that very reality.
“Further, if some readers are hoping to read a disquisition based on Population Genetics-type analyses, as one reviewer has put it, ” … analyses of evolutionary rates, examples of appearance of new genes with no homology to old ones, etc” they will mostly be disappointed; although some genetic features from recent data in the Octopus and other Cephalopods provide challenging examples to conventional evolutionary thinking. But that is not the main thrust of this review.”