MBL Hibbitt Fellow Caroline Albertin comments on the controversial idea that an influx of cosmic viruses seeded Earth with the genetic material for many species, as evidenced by the octopus genome. Albertin was on the team that sequenced the first octopus genome in 2015.
We have to stop taking away Mother Nature’s achievements. Every time a creature is quirky or bizarre people say that it must be an alien, when the reality is that evolution is capable of creating some of the strangest, creepiest organisms you could ever fathom.
This includes octopuses, which for the record is the correct pluralization of octopus. (It can also be octopodes, since the word is Greek in origin, but never octopi.)
Octopuses seem to be particularly prone to alien theories. The most recent is thanks to a group of scientists—none of whom study zoology and many of whom don’t even study anything biological—wrote a paper in the journal Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology that claimed to show octopuses might come from space. Read more …