You may or may not know this, but one of my favorite animals is the octopus. I've been fascinated by them since I was a kid and argued endlessly with my best friend down the street on which would prevail in a contest over the other: shark, or octopus? Well, obviously, sharks some time eat octopuses. But it isn't always the uneven contest one might think; consider this intriguing 2006 video from National Geographic magazine:


Well, chalk one up for octopuses: Cephalopods 1, Sharks 0. Lesson? Don't put your sharks in the same tank as your giant Pacific octopus, because they'll end up being lunch and leftovers.

So why all this bother about the octopus? It so happens that a few regular readers here know about my fascination with the creatures. For one thing, most scientists who have studied them think they are very smart, especially for creatures without a very long life span. They can actually learn from each other, perform complex tasks, and as anyone knows who has tried to keep them inside an aquarium tank, they are master escape artists. With that in mind several people sent the following story, probably knowing full well that because of my fascination with the creatures, I'd have to blog about it.

Indeed, that's true, and here we are. And as one might imagine, I am crawling way out on to the end of the twig of high octane speculation and hopefully won't fall off and into the dark waters below (do cephalopods eat caprae?)  So what caught my eye? The paper itself is the rather bland scientific sort of thing:

Cause of Cambrian Explosion - Terrestrial or Cosmic?

The subject, as one may gather from reading the abstract, is the mystifying "Cambrian explosion" of life which scientists believe occurred approximately 500,000,000 years ago. In this explosion, there's a mystifying non-vertebrate presence: the octopus. Or as the abstract puts it:

A second focus is the remarkable evolution of intelligent complexity (Cephalopods) culminating in the emergence of the Octopus.

To my unscientific eyes, that's about as close as you can come to the statement: "We've got a problem," because after all, if one follows the standard models, the branches of the tree that led to you and me, and to the giant Pacific shark-devouring octopus, are thought to have begun  to diverge about 850,000,000 years ago, with the modern octopus finally appearing about 250,000,000 years ago or so. But then the problem is admitted - or perhaps confessed - in much more stark terms a little later:

Even if we concede that the dominant neo-Darwinian paradigm of natural selection can explain aspects of the evolutionary history of life once life gets started, independent abiogenesis on the cosmologically diminutive scale of oceans, lakes or hydrothermal vents remains a hypothesis with no empirical support and is moreover unnecessary and redundant. With astronomical data now pointing to the existence of hundreds of billions of habitable planets in our galaxy alone (Abe et al., 2013; Kopparapu, 2013) such an hypothesis seeking an independent origin of life on any single planet seems to be no longer hardly necessary.

"Ok ok," I thought as I was reading the paper, "but can we please get to the octopus part now?" But no, we get a bit of a review of the panspermia idea of microbial life being delivered to Earth by rocks and cometary bombardment:

The recent report indicating evidence of microbial life in Canadian rocks that formed 4.1–4.23 billion years ago (Dodd et al., 2017), if accepted, makes it more difficult in our view to envisage the option of abiogenesis taking place anywhere on the Earth. The claim that these rocks may have been associated with hydrothermal vents still raises the question of how life could have originated in situ during the early Hadean epoch that was riddled with frequent and violent collisions by asteroids and comets. Rather we think it more reasonable to suggest that the particular evidence of microbial life in the Canadian rocks was delivered by cometary bolides, only to be instantly destroyed or carbonised on impact.


From the turn of the 20th century the resistance to panspermia had become ever more deeply entrenched in our scientific culture. Attempts by Hoyle and Wickramasinghe (Hoyle and Wickramasinghe, 1979, 1981, 1986, 1993; Wickramasinghe, 2015a,b) to re-examine and re-instate panspermia in the light of new evidence from astronomy and biology were often met with hostility (Hoyle and Wickramasinghe, 1986; Wickramasinghe, 2015a).

Of course I may be stretching things a bit with the change of "bollide" to "bombardment", but after all,  bollides explode (q.v. the Chelyabinsk meteor incident), explosions are typical of bombardments, and... well, I'm sure some here can see which twig I'm crawling to the end of on today's (and tomorrow's) high octane speculation. After many fascinating further paragraphs arguing about the necessity for "fecund theories" and even a foray into "extant Martian life" and complex organics on comets, we finally get to some cephalopodal C-4 bombshells:

Evidence of the role of extraterrestrial viruses in affecting terrestrial evolution has recently been plausibly implied in the gene and transcriptome sequencing of Cephalopods. The genome of the Octopus shows a staggering level of complexity with 33,000 protein-coding genes more than is present in Homo sapiens (Albertin et al., 2015). Octopus belongs to the coleoid sub-class of molluscs (Cephalopods) that have an evolutionary history that stretches back over 500 million years, although Cephalopod phylogenetics is highly inconsistent and confusing (see Carlini et al., 2000; Strugnell et al., 2005, 2006, 2007; Bergmann et al., 2006). Cephalopods are also very diverse, with the behaviourally complex coleoids, (Squid, Cuttlefish and Octopus) presumably arising under a pure terrestrial evolutionary model from the more primitive nautiloids. However the genetic divergence of Octopus from its ancestral coleoid sub-class is very great, akin to the extreme features seen across many genera and species noted in Eldridge-Gould punctuated equilibria patterns (below). Its large brain and sophisticated nervous system, camera-like eyes, flexible bodies, instantaneous camouflage via the ability to switch colour and shape are just a few of the striking features that appear suddenly on the evolutionary scene. The transformative genes leading from the consensus ancestral Nautilus (e.g. Nautilus pompilius) to the common Cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis) to Squid (Loligo vulgaris) to the common Octopus (Octopus vulgaris, Fig. 5) are not easily to be found in any pre-existing life form – it is plausible then to suggest they seem to be borrowed from a far distant “future” in terms of terrestrial evolution, or more realistically from the cosmos at large. Such an extraterrestrial origin as an explanation of emergence of course runs counter to the prevailing dominant paradigm. (Emphasis added)

In other words, there's not much good evidence of evolutionary stages leading up to the creature, its complexity, large brains, weird camera-like eyes, and so on, appear all at once and very suddenly. Conclusion? Either some future to past influence occurred - and don't laugh, physicists are actually talking and even experimenting with such concepts, but be very quiet about that, because that invokes the "t" word [teleology], and that makes Darwinians and Diracians very nervous, although Cosmic Anthropic Principle-ists will use the word... reluctantly and nervously of course -  or whatever evolutionary material that was laying around in the oceans received some sort of myscegenatious "bump" from something from off-planet that suddenly arrived on this planet, and out popped squids and octopuses.

But if none of that is terribly convincing, the following paragraph is an eye-popper:

However consistent with this conclusion are the recent RNA editing transcriptome-wide data on the somatic RNA diversification mechanisms in the behaviourally sophisticated Cephalopods such as Octopus. These data demonstrate extensive evolutionary conserved adenosine to inosine (A-to-I) mRNA editing sites in almost every single protein-coding gene in the behaviorally complex coleoid Cephalopods (Octopus in particular), but not in nautilus (Liscovitch-Brauer et al., 2017). This enormous qualitative difference in Cephalopod protein recoding A-to-I mRNA editing compared to nautilus and other invertebrate and vertebrate animals is striking. Thus in transcriptome-wide screens only 1–3% of Drosophila and human protein coding mRNAs harbour an A-to-I recoding site; and there only about 25 human mRNA messages which contain a conserved A-to-I recoding site across mammals. In Drosophila lineages there are about 65 conserved A-sites in protein coding genes and only a few identified in C. elegans which support the hypothesis that A-to-I RNA editing recoding is mostly either neutral, detrimental, or rarely adaptive (reviewed in Liscovitch-Brauer et al., 2017). Yet in Squid and particularly Octopus it is the norm, with almost every protein coding gene having an evolutionary conserved A-to-I mRNA editing site isoform, resulting in a nonsynonymous amino acid change (Liscovitch-Brauer et al., 2017). This is a virtual qualitative jump in molecular genetic strategy in a supposed smooth and incremental evolutionary lineage - a type of sudden “great leap forward”. Unless all the new genes expressed in the squid/octopus lineages arose from simple mutations of existing genes in either the squid or in other organisms sharing the same habitat, there is surely no way by which this large qualitative transition in A-to-I mRNA editing can be explained by conventional neo-Darwinian processes, even if horizontal gene transfer is allowed. 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.

Thus the possibility that cryopreserved Squid and/or Octopus eggs, arrived in icy bolides several hundred million years ago should not be discounted (below) as that would be a parsimonious cosmic explanation for the Octopus' sudden emergence on Earth ca. 270 million years ago. (Emphases added)

There is a problem, of course, in the assumption of cryo-genic preservation, for freezing cell-based life, based on water, is a process that actually bursts the cells, and renders "re-animation" - at least to present technology - unattainable. But assuming that nature found some way to do it (and one could easily argue that maybe it has), then the seeding of cephalopods to Earth is certainly possible.

Ok, so what? Where's the high octane speculation in all this?

Well, for that, we'll have to wait until tomorrow, for part two...

See you on the flip side...






  1. what if igfarbensanto of 280,000,000 years ago let some of their seeds blow and cross polinate across a few galaxies and we got the blow by. orrrrr if we are the blow by. wait. does this mean that 280,000,000 year old company is about to sue earth for intellectual property right infringement? orrrrr is that 280,000,000 year old company in fact the earlier version of the same genetic gamers we’re all not dealing very well with so far yet today?

    1. hears a bigger wilder sounding but more plausible idea. ok much bigger. warning. this one’s gonna take awhile.

      darwin and his biased cousin galton were rich enough to push an agenda through as science. current understanding of evolution is more religion and propaganda than fact. current studies of epigenetics in fact indicate that genetic change (evolution if you must) happens much faster than what racist eugenicists like darwin et al would have us believe. that possibility alone pooches their logic as to why their master race needs control over the inferior races to cull and seed as they see fit. after all in this society full of equal rights, some are more equal than others.

    2. what if genetic change happened over and over frequently and much faster than ever previously considered possible?

      everywhere? everywhere possible?

      what if some changes were parallel and similar if not the same while others were much different?

      now let’s throw in a couple more diverse possibilities with mounting evidence progressively faster coming into view.

    3. let’s see. it’s an electric universe. all stars are plasma balls powered from the centers of their galaxies by much bigger plasma balls and hence all stars are capacitors in an electric circuit. big electric circuit. planets in those solar systems are in fact smaller stars birthed from their solar system’s sun and developing as they go. such celestial bodies do not bump each other no collide. instead they exchange electric charges and discharges as proximity and other variables require. hence almost all formations on all planets, comets, asteroids,…. are formed by past electric discharge. (sometimes from much more recent discharges like that one on jupiter a few years back that we got to watch quite a bit of)

    4. so if everything is electric aka plasma,…

      the sun is a plasma ball emitting visible and invisible plasma all the time. sometimes its a small plasma ball that gains mass and turns into a hardened lightening scarred planet. sometimes it’s a gas giant with tons of moons.

      the sun is emitting plasma constantly (solar wind) that sometimes manifests as borealis, sometimes sprites, sometimes elves, sometimes blue jets and sometimes reaching down into dang big thunderstorms. said electric radiation drives our weather, or rather is our weather (when not undermined or rerouted by geoengineering via metal salts and wsrads and nexrads).

    5. or by cern and myriad other rotational accelerators overt and covert.

      so add into this mix the recently new knowledge that water is generated massively throughout the universe by plasma discharges as electric charges between celestial bodies equalize. this splains very well the presence of water throughout the universe where none is expected by current standard theory big bangists. anyone ever gander at some of the water spouts found coming from comets as they flash when hit by solar flares?

      that also splains the orgin of water in thunderstorms. the water droplets do not produces clouds and storms. especially not via the friction of clouds on each other. instead the electric connections (let’s say between earth and sun most commonly) generate visible and invisible plasma arcs that in turn generate massive amounts of water (and wind).

    6. ok so one more twig to sprint out onto,…

      similar if not larger electric discharges happened over geologic history when venus or mercury or mars or whatever planet existed before it became an asteroid belt brushed too close to earth to not exchange electrical charges. so picture mars so close to earth that it’s phase locked (much as earth’s moon is phase locked to earth today) and arcing. think lots of debris from each body torn off and exchanged. lot’s of water formed and rained down and probably exchanged. and in the end probably a few life forms exchanged. the life forms living in water were probably the most safely exchanged.

    7. besides splaining cetaceans with brains at least as well developed as any primates alive today, we also get to splain how valles marinaris and the grand canyon were formed (and probably at the same time off the same giant interplanetary lightening bolt). not to mention all the myriad craters of myriad shapes and sizes. as well as all the varied elements, minerals, metals and other compounds formed and shaped into the planets during these massive and geologically sudden and brief cataclysms.

      which leaves me to bet that the giza builders knew all this stuff before building that giant electric thingy we were taught is a narcissist’s grave. thingy being the recent sciency religion’s name for wardenclyffe like speriments.

    8. the next step in this progression i wanna see is someone connecting the covert and progressively more obvious knowledge that masons, jesuits, illuminati, popes, royals, whovever,… knew and kept hidden such knowledge that tesla almost blew the lid off for the rest of us. knowledge that splains things like nazi bells, energy so cheap relative to today’s standards, it might as well be free energy, alchemy – cold fusion,….

      so in the vein to avoid the mistake of these weishauptists/loyolaists that take the screed that knowledge is power so far as to keep knowledge from others, anyone who can write a decent publishable book off this little rant, go for it. please make sure it has a good ending and send me 3% of sales with a postcard every month. that means you vomito. thank you all and gnight.

      1. I want to know if Tesla has reincarnated. If so, did he learn anything from his last run-through? The banksters played him like a fiddle (money-wise). Assuming he retained some memory from the last lifetime, a sadder-but-wiser Tesla Mk.2 might be staying below the radar while assuring he/she was not financially vulnerable. Then, watch out!

          1. ZDB
            Also interesting on the “evolutionary” rate of change conundrum. There is an inherent “intelligence” working within[and, perhaps in conjunction “something” communicating from without ] This intelligence MUST find a way to survive, even as a life form, outside the conventional “box”.
            Perhaps even a quantum connection w/o an observer.

          2. ZDB, and while were on the subject of biology; there was a recent discussion on viruses. What’s particularly interesting there are “phages”. Phages are natural phenomenon frequently deployed in the former Soviet Union. When used properly, they save lives.
            Phages are viruses. In the wild, they are the cleanup crew that keeps bacteria from taking over the world. Phages kill them as rapidly as they reproduce.
            More interestingly, phages don’t kill indiscriminately. They evolutionarily evolved to kill specific bacteria.

            Why aren’t they being used in the West?

          3. ZDB, I am presuming those would be ‘people’ who could eat the Rothschilds (and their bosses) for lunch. As such, they would have (multi)planetary resources at their beck & call. I am not on their dialing-program, so I don’t have names…

          4. rb & gosh,
            had not read about virii targeting bacterium – phages. the concepts is interesting. it becomes more interesting in regards to what entity (and type of entity) can check the predator population that is the rottenchildren? yep, one would expect such a predator to be interplanetary. one would also expect that folk at the top of the social (if not actual human) food chain like rottenchildren would rely on their dealings with such an higher power entity for their continued existence if not their continued power. aka the rottenchildren would be more dependent on such an entity than the harkonnens were on the emperor.

            i kinda like the idea that the rottenfolk might be limiting their own lives and power by the rotten nature of their own thoughts. perhaps they might learn from life that their lives depend more on their ability to help their livestock than it is to abuse and feed of their livestock.

            it’d even make me happier to think that the uber predator that humbles the rottenfolk is some form of telepathic (and relative to our mere psychic manifestations) omniscient entity who only physically manifests in a much more humble form – virii? kinda like douglas adams’ dolphins and mice running the earth for all us mere humans.

  2. Did mars have an ocean 270 million years ago?
    Did a comet hit mars 270 million years ago?
    Did pieces of mars rock fly off to earth 270 million years ago?
    Did octopus eggs come from such material coming from mars?
    Is the Octopus so short-lived because Earth is not its natural habitat?
    What if the Octopus gene were altered so it could live a 100 years?

  3. Serious synchronicity today. This morning, before reading JPF’s article this afternoon, I was recalling an Analog Science Fiction and Fact magazine fact-article from decades ago. It was titled The Cambrian Seed Ship and postulated that the “mystifying ‘Cambrian explosion’ of life” came from a quite-deliberate, probe-based ‘seeding’ of Earth. What was cool about this article was that it laid-out all the improbabilities of a Darwinian origin for that ‘extravaganza’ – when most major animal phyla appeared in the fossil record – in scientific jargon. It was quite convincing. (I have looked for it online, but have not found it so far.)

    One thing the article laid-bare was the suddenness of the transition from microbial life to very sophisticated lifeforms across every possible shape and form. It was postulated that the ‘probe’ dumped into Earth’s oceans every possible variant of Earth-compatible DNA, to sink or swim. If you go into museums or search-out papers on fossils, you will see absolutely bizarre lifeforms from that era.

    One of the article’s main points was that we live in a winnowed-down shadow of that era’s life. Asteroids/comets, volcanism, ice ages, etc., have resulted in probably 99% of that uniqueness going extinct. What you see around you is a pale echo of the animal PHYLA available shortly after The Cambrian Seed Ship completed its mission. Contrary to the modern scientific view, it has been ‘downhill’ in fundamental complexity since that era…

    (Which brings us back to the genetics of the “Cephalopod protein recoding A-to-I mRNA editing compared to nautilus and other invertebrate and vertebrate animals.” Did that Seed Ship have other compartments to be opened on a “Time Release” basis? Or did Seed Ship ‘B’ or ‘C’ subsequently arrive?)

    1. (What would happen if a ‘freighter’ containing a cargo of DNA samples/wares was shot-down or hijacked or ditched onto Earth? Talk about contamination…)

  4. This interesting in that in H.G.Wells War Of The Worlds the Martians are described as a cephalopod-like while their food resembles apes and humans. What these researchers are beating around the bush is that not all intelligent lifeforms with an ability to create a technology need to be a biped.

  5. I had the privilege of being invited onto Richard C Hoagland‘s other side of midnight last Saturday, when Richard interviewed Dr. Chandra. An additional and amazing fact emerged. Dr. Chandra freeze dried E. coli and subjected to a mass spectrometer. Armed with the spectrum of E. coli, they then looked through the galaxy, and found the presence of the E. coli signature everywhere they looked. As a joke to the participants on the show, I remarked that that explains why E. coli seems to show up in so many salad bars.

    1. Kelly Em, thanks for the interview (first hour):
      On Tabby’s Star, I think it will turn out that a Dyson’s Sphere is far too idealized. In the real world, some areas will be shipyards, some energy production, others ‘military’, etc. Gaps and odd configurations. Plus, there is the ‘historical’ aspect. If you have a previously built-up capability, it will probably be incorporated rather than torn-down and rebuilt. Think of how European cities are less than ‘idealized’. A real Dyson’s semi-Sphere will look like a mess to an outsider…

      (On the near-Plantagenet connection with the Saxe-Coburg-Gotha house in the recent marriage, kudos! And watch your back.)

  6. . . . Biology, Marine Biology in particular, was and is a favourite topic along with Cetaceans with their echolocation capacities and behaviours. . . Cephalopods are easily in the top ten as well as fascinating to watch when gifted photographers spend time under the waves catching them in their natural environments, especially, emulating their environments to the very details one can see. . . Would you call them, ‘spindly arms with two great big eyes or two great big eyes getting moved around by eight spindly arms?’ . . Yes. I know, a whopping big difference. . . Base pairs have a similar beginning, but put enough of them together in a unique physical arrangement and poof, species are said to emerge, if not an emergent property of Being. . .

  7. It’s funny that the octopus is the center piece of this discussion. But NOBODY is talking about the bigger issue, and I’m talking about the Earth itself.
    In other words folks, where in the hell did the EARTH come from ?????
    I’m afraid the Octopus has to take a back seat here.

    1. Years ago I formed an idea that the Earth is really a massive asteroid or moon from a planet that got destroyed after colliding with another planet. If all the oceans on Earth were to be taken away, we would see a formation similar to Phobos. I’m still comfortable with that idea – and of course the next question would be “from which planet?”, and me thinks that Earth once belonged to Tiamat.

  8. Just a thought. Could this be part of a long term disclosure programme? If in the past extraterrestrial life (maybe octopuses) fell to earth, then that may make the idea that extraterrestrial life is out there somewhere, today, more palatable?

  9. An important measurement of intelligence is the ability to adapt to one’s environment[s], which implies thought?
    A galactic intelligence that would survive through the voids of space, or on a comet, or?

    1. All the above & more?
      Perhaps, “it” splashes down in a environment with a more intelligent “life form”? What then? Would it hide? What if it were an intelligent virus/parasite?

  10. Ah, and this leads to the question, what items might have arrived with the Tiamat or Krypton explosion with its oceans raining onto Mars, the Moon and Earth?

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