Scientific Study Says Octopuses May Have Come From Outer Space
Science fiction often portends scientific discoveries, and now it seems H.P. Lovecraft was ahead of his time when he conceived of the cosmic cephalopod, Cthulhu. Okay, maybe Cthulhu doesn’t exist, but a new scientific paper proposes that cryogenically preserved squid and octopus eggs may have seeded our planet via interstellar asteroids, inevitably leading to more complex, intelligent life on Earth.
Cephalopods, the organisms that include octopuses, squid and cuttlefish, are strangely intelligent and anomalous animals. Able to edit their own RNA, solve puzzles, and short circuit light bulbs with a carefully directed stream of water, these bizarre invertebrates have baffled scientists and even led some to believe they are sentient creatures.
In fact, a recently published New York Times best-selling book makes a strong argument, based on some very convincing anecdotal and scientific evidence, that cephalopods are intelligent, conscious creatures.
This would all seem to make sense when combined with a newly published paper based on the famous theory of panspermia proposed by Cambridge scientists Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe, known as the H.W. Thesis of Cosmic Biology. The theory posits that space-hardy bacteria, viruses, and organisms originate near the galactic center before hitching rides on comets, and subsequently seeding life on rocky planets like Earth.
Though it sounds far-fetched, there is a precedent, most notably seen in tardigrades, the micro-animals proven to be capable of surviving in the vacuum of outer space.
The thesis comes from Hoyle and Wickramasinghe’s rejection of the commonly held theory that abiogenesis, or the first origins of life on Earth, spontaneously occurred in hydrothermal vents in deep sea trenches. Instead they argue that a series of evolutionary phases coincide with instances of comets and meteorites raining down on our planet.
Wickramasinghe and 32 of his co-authors say these bombardments coincide with “extinction-diversification evolutionary boundaries.” In other words, mass extinction events took place upon impact of these cometary bombardments, whereupon the life that survived became more diverse and newer, more complex lifeforms popped into existence.
But how do these species become more diverse? From retroviruses, capable of altering the genetic makeup of the organisms they infect. These retroviruses are the sturdiest part of the argument as they are one of the clearest instances of “horizontal gene transfer” seen in nature.
These retroviruses started appearing and evolving in conjunction with the species they infected around the Cambrian Explosion 542-million years ago. This was an extinction-diversification event when unprecedented biological diversity and complexity began on Earth. It was also when retroviruses began to insert genetic material into a number of species.
And where do the sentient octopuses come in?
The paper says that in the past 500-million years of cephalopod evolution, compared to their closest relatives, the more primitive nautiluses and other mollusks, octopuses are light years ahead. Their advanced traits appeared suddenly on the evolutionary scene, suggesting they were likely to have been “borrowed from a far distant ‘future’ in terms of terrestrial evolution, or more realistically, from the cosmos at large.”
Essentially, the paper offers two explanations for this massive leap in cephalopod evolution: either cryopreserved octopus embryos arrived from space en masse 275 million years ago, or extraterrestrial viruses delivered a suite of genes that hyper-evolved squid to the more advanced octopus.
The implication is that there is a cosmic gene pool from which intelligent life, including our own species, may have been seeded through cometary bombardment.
This theory parallels Terence McKenna’s “Stoned Ape Hypothesis,” which posits that a sudden doubling of human brain capacity, a jump in human intelligence, and the formation of language some 200,000 years ago was catalyzed by psychedelic plants, particularly psilocybin-containing mushrooms. McKenna noted that fungus spores are able to survive eons of drift through space until they find a suitable environment to land.
McKenna’s theory is often derided as a gross oversimplification of human cognitive development, and rightfully so; it’s difficult to imagine that consuming a single fungus could have such a drastic impact on our consciousness. Though neuroplasticity and a rewiring of the brain has been seen as the result of the use of psilocybin.
But the latest octopus argument delves deeper, providing a more solid foundation and a multitude of evidence. Thus far, the paper has survived arduous peer-review, despite being dismissed by the mainstream.
Of course, such a radical, paradigm-shifting argument would be met with criticism, and the authors believe their theory won’t be validated until extraterrestrial life is discovered elsewhere in the universe. But until then, maybe we should be looking at our aquatic, tentacled friends a bit closer.
The Betty and Barney Hill Abduction
On the evening of September 19, 1961, Barney and Betty Hill, along with their dog Delsey, were returning to their Portsmouth, New Hampshire, home after a short vacation to Niagara Falls. They were traveling on Highway 3, just south of Lancaster, when they saw a bright light in the sky. Betty, who was in the passenger seat, watched the light move lower into the sky. At first, Barney thought it was probably an airplane. Betty, who had heard of unidentified flying objects (UFOs), was sure she was looking at a flying saucer.
The Hills stopped to get a closer look at the object and let Delsey out for a short walk. Barney remained curious, but just a little frightened. He got out of the car and used his binoculars, but still could not figure out what he was looking at. He stopped the car a few more times on the way home. He described seeing lights of all different colors and rows of windows on the object. He described the object as “pancake shaped.” At one point, he approached the object and could see several occupants inside, which scared him so badly he ran quickly back to the car to join Betty where she was waiting for him.
The couple then heard buzzing sounds and felt tingling sensations throughout their bodies, but ultimately, they drove home, where they went straight to bed exhausted. They did not wake up until late the following afternoon. They then realized the four-hour trip home from Niagara Falls had taken them seven hours. Betty noticed the dress she was wearing was torn in several places and had a pinkish powder on it. The powder was later examined by five different laboratories. None of them could identify the substance.
The toes of Barney’s good dress shoes were scuffed to the point he could no longer wear them. The binoculars strap was broken and looked like it had been cut. Both Barney and Betty were wearing watches at the time of their unusual encounter. Both watches quit working and never worked again. Shiny, concentric circles appeared on the trunk of the car that seemed to have some sort of magnetic connection. They noted a strange reaction from a compass after it was placed near the circles.
At her sister’s urging, Betty called the nearby Pease Air Force base to report the incident. As Betty and Barney each recalled the incident, they became convinced they had been abducted by extraterrestrials.
The Betty and Barney Hill abduction story was the first of its kind, but certainly not the last. Although the incident happened more than 50 years ago, it is still being discussed and analyzed today. Were the Hills really abducted? If so, what happened to them during their time on the spaceship? What and who did they see? How did they communicate? Where were the extraterrestrials from? Let’s find out what exactly happened in the aftermath of this historical milestone event.
The Air Force Investigation
Barney would have preferred to just keep the experience quiet and between the two of them, fearing that he and Betty would be viewed as “eccentric.” Betty won their brief argument on the issue and on September 21, she called the Air Force to report their experience. Major Paul Henderson visited them in person and wrote a report of the interview dated September 26, 1961. It’s unclear whether or not Henderson viewed the Hills as credible; a National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP) report concludes that there was “insufficient data in the Air Force files.”