Octopuses can be frighteningly smart because they share human genes for intelligence

Squid are clever creatures with ingenious abilities, and now scientists have uncovered a clue that may partially explain the cephalopod’s remarkable intelligence: Its genes have a genetic quirk also found in humans, a new study finds.

The clues scientists have uncovered are called “jumping genes” or transposons, and they make up 45% of the human genome. Jumping genes are short sequences of DNS with the ability to copy and paste or cut and paste themselves elsewhere in the genome, and have been implicated in the evolution of genomes in several species. Genetic sequencing recently revealed that two species of squid – Octopus vulgaris and Octopus bimaculoides — also have genomes filled with transposons, according to a study published May 18 in the journal BMC biology.