Navigation Links
How the octopus forms an elbow

The octopus arm is extremely flexible. Thanks to this flexibility--the arm is said to possess a virtually infinite number of "degrees of freedom"--the octopus is able to generate a vast repertoire of movements that is unmatched by the human arm. Nonetheless, despite the huge evolutionary gap and morphological differences between the octopus and vertebrates, the octopus arm acts much like a three-jointed vertebrate limb when the octopus performs precise point-to-point movements. Researchers have now illuminated how octopus arms are able to form joint-like structures, and how the movements of these joints are controlled.

The new findings, which appear in the April 18th issue of Current Biology, are reported by Tamar Flash of the Weizmann Institute of Science, Binyamin Hochner and German Sumbre of Hebrew University, and Graziano Fiorito of the Stazione Zoologica di Napoli.

The extreme motility of the octopus arm demands a highly complex motor control system. Past work from Dr. Hochner's group showed that when retrieving food to its mouth, the octopus actually shapes its arm into a quasi-articulated structure by forming three bends that act like skeletal joints. This puts an artificial constraint of sorts on the arm's movement and simplifies the otherwise complex control of movement that would be needed for the arm to fetch food from a distant point to the octopus's mouth.

In the new work, the researchers sought to identify how the octopus manages to transform its extremely flexible arm into a structure that acts like a jointed appendage. By recording muscle activity as the arm creates the joint-like bends, the researchers found that the arm generates two waves of muscle contraction that propagate toward each other, setting the second, or medial, joint at their collision point. This is a remarkably simple mechanism for adjusting the length of the arm segments according to where the object is grasped along the arm. The arm also forms a proximal joi nt near where the arm meets the body, and a distal joint near the suckers that have grasped the food. The medial joint typically exhibits the most movement during food retrieval.

The authors also found evidence that, like certain types of human arm movements, octopus fetching movements are controlled in terms of joint angles, rather than by a system that relies on the brain's coordinate-based map of external space.

The presence of similar structural features and control strategies in articulated limbs (for example, jointed vertebrate arms) and flexible octopus arms suggests that these qualities have evolved convergently in octopuses and in vertebrates, and it also suggests that an articulated limb--controlled at the level of joints--is the optimal solution to the challenge of achieving precise point-to-point movements by a limb.


Source:Cell Press

Related biology news :

1. Products containing specific probes for detecting alternative splice forms protected
2. IBM Transforms the Art of Scientific Expeditions
3. MIT researcher presents new view of how the cortex forms
4. Carnegie Mellon U. transforms DNA microarrays with standard Internet communications tool
5. New study explores beetle species with two forms of females
6. AIDS-related cognitive impairment exists in two separate forms
7. Creating new life forms that may help eradicate cancer affecting women
8. Scientists discover new life forms in the Arctic Ocean
9. Genetic pathways to curable and incurable forms of pancreatic cancer identified
Post Your Comments:

(Date:4/28/2016)... and BANGALORE, India , April ... EdgeVerve Systems, a product subsidiary of Infosys (NYSE: ... today announced a global partnership that will provide ... to use mobile banking and payment services.      ... a key innovation area for financial services, but it also ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... LONDON , April 26, 2016 ... EdgeVerve Systems, a product subsidiary of Infosys (NYSE: ... a partnership to integrate the Onegini mobile security ... (Logo: ) The ... enhanced security to access and transact across channels. ...
(Date:4/19/2016)... 20, 2016 The new GEZE ... compact web-based "all-in-one" system solution for all door components. ... or the door interface with integration authorization management system, ... systems. The minimal dimensions of the access control and ... building installations offer considerable freedom of design with regard ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016  The Biodesign Challenge (BDC), a university competition ... harness living systems and biotechnology, announced its winning teams ... New York City . The ... projects at MoMA,s Celeste Bartos Theater during the daylong ... senior curator of architecture and design, and Suzanne ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... In a new case report published today ... a patient who developed lymphedema after being treated for breast cancer benefitted from an ... paradigm for dealing with this debilitating, frequent side effect of cancer treatment. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 On ... session at 4,833.32, down 0.22%; the Dow Jones Industrial Average ... 500 closed at 2,085.45, down 0.17%. has initiated coverage ... INFI ), Nektar Therapeutics (NASDAQ: NKTR ), Aralez ... Inc. (NASDAQ: BIND ). Learn more about these ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 22, 2016  Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN ) ... QB3@953 life sciences incubator to accelerate the development ... laboratory space at QB3@953 was created to help high-potential ... for many early stage organizations - access to laboratory ... Amgen launched two "Amgen Golden Ticket" awards, providing each ...
Breaking Biology Technology: