Scientists: Ecstasy increased social behavior in octopuses

Octopus Prosocial Behavior

Now, researchers reporting in Current Biology on September 20 have made the surprising discovery that a species of octopus considered to be primarily solitary and asocial responds to MDMA in a similar manner: by becoming much more interested than usual in engaging with one other. "They would sit in the corner of the tank and stare at everything".

Scientists have found out what happens when you give an octopus MDMA - nearly the exact same thing as when you give it to a human.

Octopus and human lineages are separated by more than 500 million years of evolution, and yet their genomic analyses showed that O. bimaculoides has the serotonin transporter gene known to serve as the principle binding site of MDMA. They have a complex nervous system that has evolved in a dramatically different way from that of humans, with bundles of neurons in each of their eight legs connected to a central bundle of neurons.

While there could be alternative explanations for the octopus's friendliness, the conclusion provided by the researchers seem to be the most robust out of all of them.

"They have this huge complex brain that they've built, that has absolutely no business acting like ours does - but here they show that it does", says Pungor.

"The fact that they induced this very sort of gentle, cuddly behaviour is really pretty fascinating". This behaviour was similar to that of humans when they are under the influence of MDMA. It is this same protein that is affected by MDMA.

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Ecstasy Makes Octopuses More Social And Touchy
A new study has found that when octopuses are intoxicated with MDMA , they act like humans who are high on the same drug. She added that the study of psychedelics and other recreational drugs is no longer deemed to be a "risque topic".

The researcher then moved the octopuses to a tank that had three different rooms to choose from.

The drugged octopuses were found to be friendlier than the ones who weren't.

Typically, octopuses are non-social creatures that tend to avoid or shy away from other creatures including other octopuses unless it is mating season.

According to NPR, scientists chose a specifically low dose of MDMA, since higher doses gave a profoundly different result. But an octopus on MDMA would get up-close and personal with the new neighbor. However, after their dose of the drug, they spent more time in the room with the male octopus. Not usually touchy feely creatures, after being given MDMA, the octopuses actually started hugging. The study allowed to conclude that this regulation -evolyutsionnaya very long. This could be the result of the euphoria that MDMA produces even when humans take this drug. She added that the study of psychedelics and other recreational drugs is no longer deemed to be a "risque topic". Octopuses' closest relatives are creatures like snails and slugs, and their brains have a host of odd structures that evolved on a completely different trajectory from the human path.

There are promising signs that further research into the drugs effects can help unravel how social behavior is wired into our brains.

"It's not just quantitatively more time, but qualitative", Dölen said in a statement.

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