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Conference papers

Episodic-like memory in an invertebrate: the cuttlefish

Abstract : Since the first study on episodic-like memory in scrub jays demonstrating that these birds can remember ‘what’, ‘where’ and ‘when’ components of a unique feeding event, other studies have used similar approaches to show that several vertebrate species also posses certain aspects of episodic-like memory. We recently showed that cuttlefish, cephalopod mollusks, keep track of what they have eaten, and where and how long ago they ate, in order to match their foraging behavior with the replenishing rates of different foods. Foraging in cuttlefish fulfills the criteria of ‘what’, ‘where’ and ‘when’ of unique events and thus provides behavioral evidence of episodic-like memory in an invertebrate. Because the hypothetical common ancestor of cephalopods and vertebrates dates back to approximately 600 million years ago, the evolution of episodic-like memory may provide a genuine case of convergent evolution. It has been suggested that the apparent evolutionary continuity of mental time travel in mammals may be linked to the continuity of hippocampal function. The presence of the hippocampal formation in birds, sharing common functions with the hippocampus of mammals, may have constrained the evolution of mental time travel abilities. A mechanistic, bottom-up approach is needed to determine the neural pre-requisites that enable the emergence of complex cognition, without being inextricably tied to evolution from common ancestors, as is the case in higher vertebrates. Exploring the neural underpinnings of an analogue of episodic-like memory in cephalopods will pinpoint the neural machinery necessary for the evolution of such complex cognitive ability.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, August 22, 2017 - 2:48:48 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, November 3, 2021 - 7:21:25 AM


  • HAL Id : hal-01576162, version 1


Christelle Jozet-Alves, Alexandra K. Schnell. Episodic-like memory in an invertebrate: the cuttlefish. Behaviour 2017 - 35th International Ethological Conference, Instituto Universitário de Ciências Psicológicas, Sociais e da Vida (ISPA); Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour (ASAB), Jul 2017, Estoril, Portugal. ⟨hal-01576162⟩



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