Believe it or not, but some researchers took a few octopuses and drugged them with ecstasy in the name of science.
This could explain why MDMA has a similar effect on both species. Apparently, the same thing that happens to humans-at least according to a new, admittedly small study run by Gül Dölen, a neuroscientist at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. However, after their dose of the drug, they spent more time in the room with the male octopus.
The psychoactive drug known as ecstasy can make people feel extra loving toward others, and a study published Thursday suggests it has the same effect on octopuses. She said that this could mean that the signalling molecules such as the neurotransmitters may be similar in octopuses and humans and may have been conserved over evolutionary progress.
GREENFIELDBOYCE: And it shows that some of our biological systems for social behavior must go way, way back because humans and octopuses are separated by more than 500 million years of evolution. Octopuses can open jars, pick the World Cup winners and make escape attempts.
The experiment conducted, Fortune reported, involved placing a "hand-sized" octopus in the center chamber of a three-chambered tank.
MDMA is known for causing feelings of love and affection in humans, but one could only guess at the effect it would have on octopuses, creatures that are often housed away from each other due to the risk of one killing the other. The behavioural reactions of the animals were similar to humans when they take ecstasy write the authors.
When The Beatles recorded the song "Octopus's Garden", they probably imagined a friendly octopus that invited humans to sing and dance around in their underwater garden (in the shade).
"Octopuses aren't 100 percent asocial; they have some tolerance for each other", Edsinger said.
"It just shows us how much we don't know and how much there is out there to understand", Zachary Mainen, a neuroscientist at the Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown in Portugal, told NPR.
Seven octopuses received MDMA inside laboratory tanks.
Scientists say the experiment provides an understanding of how serotonin affects social interaction.
"They floated around, they wrapped their arms around the chamber, and they interacted with the other octopus in a much more fluid and generous way".
The researchers concluded from the experiment that, just like humans, MDMA enhanced the acute prosocial behaviors in California two-spot octopuses. That said, after a dose of MDMA, scientists found that octopuses become more "touchy-feely" and their antisocial behavior seemingly disappears once serotonin floods the brain, which is increased by ingesting MDMA. They then returned them to the sectioned-off chambered areas in the aquarium. When it comes to the furry character from Star Wars, it seems that the octopuses only spent some time with Chewbacca throughout the control test, when they were not on drugs.