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PERCEPTIVE EXPERIENCE

Perception

Three Hearts, Nine Brains, and a Head with Eight Arms

Octopuses have blue blood, no bones, three hearts, nine brains, and eight arms joined to the head. Two hearts send blood to the gills, while the third pumps it around the body. A central brain sits in the head, with one at the base of each arm to control movement. The majority of neurons are found in the arms, which can independently touch, taste, and control basic motion without input from the main brain.

As a result, an octopus can “see” photons with its skin and change color without inputs from the eyes or brain. Despite being color-blind via a lack of cones in their eyes, 400 million years of evolution allows octopuses to be nature’s ninjas, to hide ...

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