You’re Not Hallucinating. That’s Just Squid Skin. | Deep Look

You’re Not Hallucinating. That’s Just Squid Skin. | Deep Look


Cuttlefish… octopuses… and squid have
an almost otherworldly ability to control their appearance. What makes it possible are these spots. They’re called chromatophores. They’re
like tiny water balloons, filled with colored pigment. When the balloons expand, you see more pigment,
more color… When they contract, the color shrinks to a
tiny dot. The overall effect can be really dramatic. And for good reason. These animals don’t have protective external
shells. They’re unarmored. Naked. And they aren’t great swimmers, either. Camouflage is their best defense. They have
to be good at it. Octopuses can change their body position and
the pattern on their skin to match rock or coral. Octopuses and cuttlefish can even change the
texture of their skin to throw off predators. Become bumpier and more rock-like. But squid often live in the open ocean. How
do you blend in when there’s nothing — except water — to blend into? They do it by changing the way light bounces
off their their skin — actually adjust how iridescent their skin is using light reflecting
cells called iridophores. They can mimic the way sunlight filters down
from the surface. Hide in plain sight. So how do they control all this color change? Is it voluntary or some kind of built in reflex? That’s what researchers at Stanford University
wanted to know. So…they anesthetized the squid and then
snipped the nerve from the the brain that controls the chromatophores, but only on one
side of the animal. The brain essentially couldn’t send messages
to the tiny muscles that control those chromatophores anymore. … almost like turning off a light switch. But after a few days, then they noticed something
strange. The chromatophores began blinking again…
even though they were no longer getting signals from the brain. So what does this mean? Well, what it suggests is that color change
might be a bit like breathing is for humans. Something we can either choose to do… or
do automatically. Only… even cooler — because unlike breathing,
color change requires an awareness of your surroundings. And in these animals, that awareness is spread
throughout the skin… as if the skin itself could see. It would be as if your skin knew what color
the walls were, even with your eyes closed. For a soft and squishy creature trying to
stay alive in a very big ocean — it’s a pretty spectacular defense.

Roly Polies Came From the Sea to Conquer the Earth | Deep Look

Roly Polies Came From the Sea to Conquer the Earth | Deep Look


Pill bugs…… roly polies….. potato bugs… whatever you want to call them, somehow there’s something less creepy about these guys than other insects. More loveable, or something. Maybe it’s because they’re not insects
at all. Pill bugs are actually crustaceans. They’re more closely related to shrimp and
lobsters than crickets or beetles. Pill bugs even taste like shellfish, if you
cook them right. Some adventurous foragers call them wood shrimp. As early as 300 million years ago, some intrepid
ancestor crawled out of the ocean, sensing there might be more to eat, or less competition,
on dry land.” But unlike lobsters, pillbugs can roll up
into a perfect little ball for protection. If you look closely you can see the evidence
of where these guys came from. Like their ocean-dwelling cousins, pill bugs
still use gills to breathe. True insects — like this cricket — use a
totally different system. See those tiny holes on this cricket’s abdomen? They’re called spiracles. They lead to a series of tubes that bring
fresh air directly to the insect’s cells. But pill bugs don’t have any of that. To survive on land, they had to adapt. Their gills, called pleopods, are modified
to work in air. Folds in the pleopod gills developed into
hollow branched structures, almost like tiny lungs. In a way, the pillbug is only halfway to becoming
a true land animal. Because… they’re still gills. They need to be kept moist in order to work. Which is why you usually find pill bugs in
moist places, like under damp, rotting logs. They can’t venture too far away. Sure, pill bugs look like the most ordinary
of bugs. But they’re much more than that: evidence
that over evolutionary time, species make big, life-changing leaps. And those stories are written on their bodies. Hey, while we’re on the subject of oddball
crustaceans… check out this episode about mantis shrimp. Their eyes see colors we can’t even
comprehend. Their punch is faster than Muhammad Ali’s. And while we have you: Subscribe. OK? Thank you! And see you next time.