You wouldn't probably give much thought about the underwater mollusc- octopus. But a recently published made a seemingly preposterous claim about them, calling them aliens! Octopuses do have a weird structure and have some features which no other living species may have shown, like changing their own genetic molecules. Yes, octopuses are known to edit their RNA, which does make them weird but of course, they are not aliens. Octopuses can alter their genes and thus try out" adaptations in the short-term. And they do not even mess with their next generations.
A study or rather an article published in Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology gave a claim of over 30 scientists who proposed that an octopus can evolve with the insertion of genes from extraterrestrial viruses. They stated that retroviruses are involved in the Cambrian explosion which results in the sudden diversification of species. The Cambrian explosion which occurred approximately 541 million years ago was responsible for the extreme diversification of life on the planet. Major animal species started to develop from thereon. The author's of this study question if it happened naturally with the present elements on the Earth back then. In a way, they are exploring a possibility that life was made to create from life-bearing comets that kept hitting our planet millions of years ago.
While talking about the life forms, the scientists pointed at octopuses, stating the species came into existence with the Cambrian explosion, as the fossils suggest. The early Cephlapods (scientific category of octopus) type exist till date. They have a complex nervous system, complicated eyes and even the ability to change their colours. The researchers then state that such genes were not present in any other common ancestor, stating it is possible that they may have come from 'future.' To quote from the study, "It is plausible then to suggest they [octopuses] seem to be borrowed from a far distant ‘future’ in terms of terrestrial evolution, or more realistically from the cosmos at large."
The paper questions whether the emergence of the species was cosmic or terrestrial. They are reimagining the theory of 'panspermia,' which suggests that life on Earth was seeded by space dust or asteroids. It also states that octopus eggs kept in the cold of a comet would have been brought to the Earth.
When such a claim was made, the mainstream media was all over it. But other scientists said that the comparison was little bizarre. It is best we appreciate them as weird and fascinating creatures as they are. One of the scientists had commented that while the study may offer new dimensions to look into, to compare them to animals coming from space is not to be believed. The paper is said to be very provocative. But well, it is indeed a point to note that octopuses are weird creatures on the planet but to think of them as alien creations is going a little too far. This study can be looked as just another unconventional idea proposed by some scientists.