Pearls before squid: how a cephalopod is born, in stunning microscopy footage

Produced by the evolutionary and developmental biologist Nipam Patel in his Patel Lab at the University of California, Berkeley, Squid: Coming to Life literally puts squid and cuttlefish development under the microscope. With a sparkling soundtrack and stunning microscopy footage, the short video shows the cephalopods transforming from embryos (when they develop in egg capsules) to hatchlings that emerge with the resplendent, colour-shifting skin they use for communication and camouflage.

Director: Nipam H Patel

View at

Support Aeon

‘I support Aeon because I support the spreading of wisdom.’

Tanner F, USA, Friend of Aeon

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview.

But we can’t do it without you.

Make a donation


Time to update the Nobels

Science today is an intricate, collaborative, global enterprise. Nobel prizes for individual scientists are an anachronism

Brian Keating


Cheers! How the physics of fizz contributes to human happiness

Roberto Zenit Javier Rodríguez Rodríguez


I like the way you move: from a walk through a trot to a gallop, on four legs

2 minutes

Essay/Cognition and intelligence

Cognitive gadgets

Our thinking devices – imitation, mind-reading, language and others – are neither hard-wired nor designed by genetic evolution

Cecilia Heyes

Idea/Future of technology

An electrical meltdown looms: how can we avert disaster?

Keith Harary

Video/The environment

This is what climate change looks like: the social fissures of Cape Town’s water crisis

13 minutes