For all you conspiracy theorists, we here at the Perspective Research Department have a startling revelation about ALIENS amongst us!
That's right kids, it's a doozy because there really are ALIENS on our planet, and we seldom interact with them in any meaningful way!
We're talking about Octopuses and cephalopods folks!
https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/04/octopuses-do-something-really-strange-to-their-genes/522024/Octopuses have three hearts, parrot-like beaks, venomous bites, and eight semi-autonomous arms that can taste the world. They squirt ink, contort through the tiniest of spaces, and melt into the world by changing both color and texture. They are incredibly intelligent, capable of wielding tools, solving problems, and sabotaging equipment.As Sy Montgomery once wrote, “no sci-fi alien is so startlingly strange” as an octopus. But their disarming otherness doesn’t end with their bodies. Their genes are also really weird.A team of scientists led by Joshua Rosenthal at the Marine Biological Laboratory and Eli Eisenberg at Tel Aviv University have shown that octopuses and their relatives—the cephalopods— have alien DNA and practice a type of genetic alteration called RNA editing.They use it to fine-tune the information encoded by their genes without altering the genes themselves. And they do so extensively, to a far greater degree than any other Terran (Earth) animal group.“They presented this work at a recent conference, and it was a big surprise to everyone,” says Kazuko Nishikura from the Wistar Institute. “I study RNA editing in mice and humans, where it’s very restricted. The situation is very different here. I wonder if it has to do with their extremely developed brains.”It certainly seems that way. Rosenthal and Eisenberg found that RNA editing is especially rife in the neurons of cephalopods. They use it to re-code genes that are important for their nervous systems—the genes that, as Rosenthal says, “make a nerve cell a nerve cell.” And only the intelligent coleoid cephalopods—octopuses, squid, and cuttlefish—do so.The relatively dumber nautiluses do not. “Humans don’t have this. Monkeys don’t. Nothing has this except the coleoids,” says Rosenthal.It’s impossible to say if their prolific use of RNA editing is responsible for their alien intellect, but “that would definitely be my guess,” says Noa Liscovitch-Brauer, a member of Rosenthal’s team who spearheaded the new study. “It makes for a very compelling hypothesis in my eyes.”(As for the question of how long ago they got here, and where they're from, remains a mystery. But scientists estimate they have been around for tens, and maybe even hundreds of millions of years! -Ed)