Did you know octopuses have three hearts and nine brains? (by the way, octopuses is the preferred plural, not octopi)
First let's consider the hearts. Octopuses have evolved this three-heart system as a result of living in deep areas of the ocean where oxygen is scarce. The three hearts help get oxygenated blood to all parts of the body. Two of the hearts pump blood to the gills, where the blood picks up dissolved oxygen. The third heart, the largest, pushes the oxygenated blood to all parts of the body, including the tips of those eight tentacles.
Okay, what about the nine brains? Octopuses have one centralized brain. Oddly, this brain is in the shape of a doughnut, and it is arranged around the esophagus. The food they eat actually passes through the hole in the brain (uh... food for thought?). This brain, like a human's brain, controls many of the overall body functions. But what about the other eight brains?
Have you ever watched an octopus move around? Those eight tentacles are constantly moving independently of each other, often with complex movements. What makes this possible is that each of the tentacles has its own brain, a complex bundle of nerves called a ganglia.
Here's an example of how that helps an octopus. Let's say the main brain tells the body to go check out a coral rock for a possible crab to eat. No problem. But then those eight arms start probing the coral, each of them reaching in a different crevice, feeling around for a snack. That requires a great deal of brain power, but the mini-brain in each tentacle allows the tentacle to act almost like an individual entity as it searches for food.
- Octopus - DepositPhotos
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