We have an octopus lab in which we are studying octopus cognition. Just as convergent evolution led to wings in many species, convergent evolution led to complex brains in three lineages: The chordates (e.g. us), the arthropods (e.g. bees), and molluscs (e.g. octopuses). Just as there may be only so many ways to build a wing that works (all involve flapping and a membrane), there may only be so many ways to build a complex brain. By examining the minds and brains of these 'aliens on Earth,' we hope to be able to learn about universal principles of neural circuit design, computation, perception, cognition and consciousness.
One of two rooms comprising the Dartmouth Octopus Cognition Lab, built in 2017
Building the lab in 2017
Our octopuses like to hide in a flower pot
Looking like a rock