Scientists gave an Octopus MDMA yielding adorable results
With so many tentacles to hug, giving an octopus MDMA resulted in a whole lotta love.
Ah, the octopus; the trippy alien-looking invertebrate of the ocean who’s lineage is separated by 500 million years of evolution to our own and “show divergent anatomical patterns of brain organisation,” as is said in a publication in Current Biology.
But despite these differences, evidence suggests they share the ancient neurotransmitter system responsible for regulating Serotonin in both invertebrate and vertebrate lineages.
Octopuses are predominantly asocial and solitary- even murderous- which is why they are often housed alone. But what would happen if these creatures got a dose of the love drug, more commonly known as MDMA?
Following the experiment, a hand-sized octopus was placed in the middle section of a three-chambered tank after having an ‘MDMA bath.’
One of the chambers housed a colourful object, with the other chamber housing a second octopus in a cage (to prevent it from being murdered).
When the octopus was sober, it preferred the company of the colourful object, but as soon as it felt the effects of MDMA it preferred to hang out with the other octopus- even hugging it.
As we all know, dosage is everything and can be the difference between extreme discomfort and euphoria.
Originally they gave the octopus a much larger dose to see whether the drug had any effect, which led to the octopus sitting in the corner of the tank staring at everything…shame!
“It just shows us how much we don’t know,” Zachary Mainen, a neuroscientist at the Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown in Portugal, told NPR, “and how much there is out there to understand.”
Scientists gave an octopus MDMA, showing us we have more in common with our invertebrate friends of the ocean than we thought.