Cuttlefish never mate with same partner proving they have better memory than us
Cuttlefish don’t lose memory as they age, which is handy when it comes time to reproduce.
Because they have a perfect memory, the frisky fish make sure they don’t partner up with the same mate twice.
Researchers tested 24 common cuttlefish, a marine animal in the same class as squid and octopus, in a series of memory tests.
The results show the first evidence of an animal whose recall of specific events stays consistent over a lifetime.
The sea creatures were tasked with matching a flag to a type of food, either a king prawn or live grass shrimp. The location of the food would be changed each day to make sure the cuttlefish weren’t just learning a pattern.
‘Cuttlefish can remember what they ate, where and when, and use this to guide their feeding decisions in the future,’ said lead author Dr Alexandra Schnell.
‘What’s surprising is that they don’t lose this ability with age, despite showing other signs of ageing like loss of muscle function and appetite.’
The research, published in Proceedings Of The Royal Society B Biological Sciences, showed that older cuttlefish, at around 24 months, even performed the recall task better than the younger ones.
While memory loss is a complicated phenomenon, researchers believe the human brain’s hippocampus plays a key role. Cuttlefish are missing a hippocampus, which could help explain their strong memories.
Instead, cuttlefish appear to store their memories in the ‘vertical lobe’ region of their brains, which only declines at the very end of their lives.
Researchers think the long-lasting cuttlefish memories could help them breed to widen the gene pool, instead of returning to the same partner.
‘We think this ability might help cuttlefish in the wild to remember who they mated with, so they don’t go back to the same partner,’ said Schnell.