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Cephalopods & brain studies

Updated: Jul 26, 2023

A French neurobiologist has highlighted the valuable insights that cephalopods (such as cuttlefish, octopus and squid) can provide for research into thought and other cognitive brain functions.

In a recent Q&A article for the French advocacy group and EARA member Gircor, Dr Cécile Bellanger, at the University of Caen Normandy, discussed why cephalopods are emerging as important animals to study the brain and its evolution across different species.

Dr Bellanger’s studies involve investigating specific brain regions in cuttlefish and octopuses, to identify what is needed for cognitive abilities to arise in the brain. For example, cuttlefish are known to possess complex, long-term memories and a notion of time.

More broadly, her research may also shed light on the evolution of the brain of other animals, including mammals, by looking at how the structure and organisation compares between species.

“We already know that synapses work pretty much the same from species to species, and the neurotransmitters are generally the same. Is there then a common minimum between the brains of all these species?”, she asked.

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Scott R. Budde
Scott R. Budde
Jul 27, 2023

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