The amazing intelligence of the squid

The amazing intelligence of the squid
The amazing intelligence of the squid

The amazing intelligence of the squid has been revealed, after a map of its brain focused on neural connections was completed. Thanks to this study, it has been found that the squid’s brain is, as suspected, very complex, as much or more complex than a dog’s brain, according to Wen-Sung Chung, from the Queensland Brain Institute at the University of Queensland.

Squids: smarter than we think
Squids: smarter than we think

Modern cephalopods, which include octopuses, cuttlefish and squid, have brains famous for their complexity. At least in the number of their neurons, they outnumber rats and mice, which we’ve long catalogued as very intelligent animals.

Squid intelligence

Some cephalopods have more than 500 million neurons, compared to the 200 million that a rat may have and the 20,000 neurons that a normal mollusk may have.

Their neuronal connections are currently being studied further in order to reveal the secret of the squid to camouflage itself instantly. As Dr. Chung, the lead author of this study, explains:

This is the first time modern technology has been used to explore the brain of this amazing animal. We proposed 145 new connections and pathways, more than 60 percent of which are linked to vision and motor systems.

Some examples of the complex behavior of cephalopods include the ability to camouflage themselves despite being color blind, the ability to count various objects, the ability to recognize common patterns, the ability to solve various problems, and the ability to communicate with members of other species using a variety of signals.

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We can see that many neural circuits are dedicated to camouflage and visual communication. Giving the squid a unique ability to evade predators, hunt and communicate in specific ways with dynamic color changes.

Specifically, the study led by Dr. Chang, included the use of techniques such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in the brain of the Sepioteuthis lessoniana reef squid.

This study proposes several new networks of neurons in charge of visually guided behaviors, such as locomotion and shading camouflage, when squid show different colors on the top and bottom of their bodies to blend with the bottom, whether they are being viewed from above or from below.

Squid, beyond being a succulent dish of food, are like most living beings, mysterious and interesting animals, endowed with an exceptional intelligence that offers no room for doubt.

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Studies such as those carried out by Dr. Chang, allow us to explore other forms of complex intelligence, in order to achieve a greater approach to the most complex intelligence of all: ours.


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