Sleeping Octopus Changes Color As It Sleeps, Possibly Dreaming

September 25, 2019

This is a clip from the documentary Octopus: Making Contact starring Alaska Pacific University professor Dr. David Scheel's pet octopus Heidi, who repeatedly changes colors and patterns while sleeping, possibly in relation to a dream. Hold on -- octopuses dream? Some more info while I wish I could stop dreaming:

"It's been hypothesized that octopus species can exhibit something very similar to REM cycles in humans," Sara Stevens, an aquarist with Butterfly Pavilion, told Live Science. "But the jury's still out on whether they're achieving REM sleep."


Unlike humans, octopuses don't have a centralized brain. Instead, they have multiple "brains," their bundles of neurons are distributed in their limbs. This unusual nervous system gives octopuses precise control over their color-changing cells; however, that ability may not be entirely under their control all the time, Stevens said.

"There are no definitive answers to the questions: Are they dreaming? and What do they dream about?" she added.

In the video, David imagines Heidi's color changes as a result of a dream about catching and eating a crab, something she has real life experience doing. I've had that dream before. I've also had the dream where the crabs are eating me. And that *removes sunglasses to reveal bloodshot eyes* is what we call a regularly reoccurring nightmare. "Jesus, GW, you look like shit." You are what you eat. "Wait, what?" I haven't slept in four days, I'm making mistakes.

Keep going for the video.

Thanks to Josh J and speakerbox, who agrees clearly we still have a lot to learn from Hank in Finding Dory.

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