6 days ago
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Proof that strange things come out of Britain
CNN (to whom go the image credits) has a story about a strange sea creature - a six-legged octopus.
To clarify that statement (perhaps, instead, to correct the errors in it), I will elaborate: the octopus, named Henry, is actually a "hexapus" in that he only has six legs, and he is not technically a sea creature, since he lives in an aquarium at the Blackpool Sea Life Centre in England.
The lack of legs is actually a birth defect. This was not a case of losing the limbs to a predator or other accident, since octopodes have the ability to grow new limbs should that occur, just as certain species of reptile and amphibian can regrow lost tails or toes. What makes Henry so special is that he truly is one-of-a-kind; no records of any other six-legged octopus exist.
Our genes can cause very dramatic changes in our physiology (like, perhaps, a derth of limbs). Is it really so difficult to believe that variations like this could be passed to the next generation? Personally, I'd love to see an animal with an odd number of limbs, but I suppose that's why it's safer for me to study physics.