“Octopuses use unique locomotion strategies that are different from
those found in other animals,” researcher Binyamin Hochner said in a recent release.
“This is most likely due to their soft molluscan body that led to the
evolution of ‘strange’ morphology, enabling efficient locomotion control
without a rigid skeleton.”
Hochner, alongside two of his colleagues, recently authored a new
study on octopus limb coordination and locomotion, which was published
in the journal Current Biology.
They describe how, like everything else about the octopus, its strange
and agile way of getting around is likely a consequence of its
unexpected evolutionary history - in which squishy cephalopods’
ancestors were likely once more like rigid and immobile clams.
According to the study, the secret is that an octopus does not move
itself by pushing or pulling in one direction, but instead allocates
different arms for different directions (ie - to head right, the two
left-most arms might push off the floor while the others simply stay out
of the way).