I repeat: Octopuses are NOT aliens


Jebus. The stupidity of the media is maddening. Here are two articles now out there: Don't freak out, but scientists think octopuses 'might be aliens' after DNA study and Octopuses ‘are aliens’, scientists decide after DNA study. These reporters are embarrassing.

Not to freak you out or anything, but scientists have just revealed that octopuses are so weird they’re basically aliens.

The first full genome sequence shows of that octopuses (NOT octopi) are totally different from all other animals – and their genome shows a striking level of complexity with 33,000 protein-coding genes identified, more than in a human.


As I said earlier, the study is open access. Read it. If you can't understand the big words and the details, then you shouldn't be writing news stories on science.

The study says exactly the opposite. It shows that octopuses use genes shared with vertebrates -- the common metazoan toolbox. They have amplified genes used by other earthly animal life in unique ways, but protocadherins are a known earthly family of molecules, and zinc finger genes are a known earthly family of genes. This study reinforces the concept of common ancestry.

Do I need to add that it's even plainly said in the abstract? Just read the abstract!

The core developmental and neuronal gene repertoire of the octopus is broadly similar to that found across invertebrate bilaterians

I just know this nonsense is going to be propagated by creationists everywhere, and I'm going to have to slam it down repeatedly. The only good thing is that it's an easy one to rebut, and I'll have many excuses to wrap my virtual tentacles around their rhetorical throats and squeeze.

It begins.

Proving that octopuses are creatures that arrived from another planet, possibly from another solar system, may not be revealed any time soon. However, their alien existence upon the Earth is expected to be the focus of significant research in the coming years. It is likely that they will be found to be born of the Earth, but the mysticism that they may be aliens makes the genome discovery quite intriguing.

More like this

The best way to refute this nonsense is for the authors to state publically that this is a false interpretation of their findings which actually show precisely the opposite.

By Rosa Rubicondior (not verified) on 15 Aug 2015 #permalink

The plural for octopus is octopi.

By kenneth wayne … (not verified) on 15 Aug 2015 #permalink

Sorry Kenneth, you are wrong.

There are three plural forms ofoctopus: octopuses [ˈɒktəpəsɪz], octopi [ˈɒktəpaɪ], and octopodes [ˌɒkˈtəʊpədiːz]. Currently, octopuses is the most common form in the UK as well as the US; octopodes is rare, and octopi is often objectionable.

They're not people like us.

By Daniel Corcos (not verified) on 18 Aug 2015 #permalink

Re: I just know this nonsense is going to be propagated by creationists everywhere, and I’m going to have to slam it down repeatedly.

Thanks for acknowledging the fact you will be forced to address what is known to serious scientists about the link from microRNAs to biodiversity that refutes all claims of theorists about beneficial mutations.

Jerome Hui and others linked all crustaceans to all insects via nutrient-dependent changes in the microRNA/messenger RNA balance. There is no reason to believe that anything else links marine invertebrates to primates.

Besides, octopuses are referred to as the "primates of the sea." The sequencing of the octopus genome links the conserved molecular mechanisms of biophysically constrained nutrient-dependent protein folding to RNA-mediated events and chromosomal rearrangements, which are clearly linked to all extant biodiversity without the nonsense about beneficial mutations and evolution.

By James V. Kohl (not verified) on 21 Aug 2015 #permalink

See also: http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2014/01/06/one-crank-dies-anothe…

"...he was actually a biologist, had a Ph.D. in zoology, and taught at the University of Vermont. He had a “scientific” theory, which was his, which he thought explained all that evolutionary change while refuting those silly scientists who believed that mutations occurred. No! Evolution was all due to chromosome rearrangements, which somehow are not mutations, and he also somehow ignored the existence of allelic differences between species..."

Mutations perturb protein folding, which is why they cannot be linked to evolution.

The differences in alleles are nutrient dependent and they link RNA-mediated events to the biophysically constrained chemistry of protein folding and the physiology of reproduction in all genera via amino acid substitutions and chromosomal rearrangements, which is what the octopus genome sequencing just showed.

By James V. Kohl (not verified) on 23 Aug 2015 #permalink

"The best way to refute this nonsense is for the authors to state publically that this is a false interpretation of their findings which actually show precisely the opposite."

Tell that to climate change deniers. I do not recall a time when that line of thinking has stopped them. Of course it should, but it doesn't seem to when someone has an idea already ingrained in their head.

By W Scott Lincoln (not verified) on 23 Aug 2015 #permalink

The best way to refute pseudoscientific nonsense linked to evolutionary theories invented by neo-Darwinists is with facts about cell type differentiation in the context of climate change and the physiology of reproduction, which links ecological variation to ecological adaptations via the microRNA/messenger RNA balance. The balance is linked to biodiversity via chromosomal rearrangements, not by virus-driven mutations that cause gene loss.

See: Mayo Clinic Researchers Find New Code That Makes Reprogramming of Cancer Cells Possible https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGYTLOGZ40U

By James V. Kohl (not verified) on 25 Aug 2015 #permalink

The Octopus Genome: Not "Alien" but Still a Big Problem for Darwinism http://www.evolutionnews.org/2015/08/the_octopus_gen098681.html

Excerpt: "Whenever you see "de novo" origin of a gene invoked, you know that evolutionary biologists lack any explanation for how that gene arose."

Slam 'em down, PZ. Alternatively, encourage your anonymous idiot minions to try.

By James V. Kohl (not verified) on 26 Aug 2015 #permalink

The problem for atheists becomes bigger almost every day.

Where is PZ Myers, when we need to learn more about cell type differentiation via mutations, now that all serious scientists have abandoned that pseudoscientific nonsense because they have learned about biologically-based cause and effect?

See for example: DNA methylation pathways and their crosstalk with histone methylation http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nrm4043

Why isn't little PeeZee slamming down the creationists now that they reported the link from virus-driven entropic elasticity to genomic entropy?

By James V. Kohl (not verified) on 27 Aug 2015 #permalink