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Octopuses may dream while they’re asleep, say researchers | #childpredator | #onlinepredator | #sextrafficing

Octopus sleep is similar to that of humans – and they may even dream, a new study suggests. Researchers say the skin patterns the animals create while they are snoozing may indicate they are capable of something similar to dreaming.

Like people, the sea creatures transition between two sleep stages – a quiet stage and an active stage that resembles REM sleep in mammals. While awake, octopuses create a number of different skin patterns which they use to camouflage themselves in different environments, and in social or threat displays, such as warning off predators and communicating with each other.

The animals cycled through these same skin patterns during active sleep, the study found. It could be that they are practising their skin patterns to improve their waking camouflage behaviour, or simply maintaining the pigment cells, one theory suggests.

However, another is that they could be re-living and learning from their waking experiences, such as hunting or hiding from a predator, and reactivating the skin pattern associated with each experience. In other words, they could be doing something similar to dreaming.

Senior author, Professor Sam Reiter, who leads the Computational Neuroethology Unit at Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST), Japan, said: “In this sense, while humans can verbally report what kind of dreams they had only once they wake, the octopuses’ skin pattern acts as a visual readout of their brain activity during sleep.”

He added: “All animals seem to show some form of sleep, even simple animals like jellyfish and fruit flies. But for a long time, only vertebrates were known to cycle between two different sleep stages.”

When octopuses sleep, their quiet periods of slumber are punctuated by short bursts of frenzied activity. Their arms and eyes twitch, their breathing rate quickens, and their skin flashes with vibrant colours.

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