Life Lines by Dr. Dolittle

Sponsored by the American Physiological Society

Octopus smarts caught on video…and I only thought they could open jars

It seems that octopuses are even smarter, and more fearless, than previously thought. It has been known for some time that they can be trained to open jars to obtain treats as shown in the promotional video for “Aliens of the Deep Sea” shown below:

There are even stories of them purposefully escaping their own tank to snack on fish in a tank nearby.

More recently, the animals have been discovered planning other complex activities. This video actually shows the animals collecting coconut shells, tucking them under their bodies and walking around with them to use for future defense against predators. These findings are remarkable because they show that octopuses are capable of planning very complex activities. These behaviors have been published in Current Biology (Finn et al., 19: R1069-R1070) and you can watch this video taken by Dr. Julian Finn from Museum Victoria in Australia who discovered this behavior:

Who would have thought that an invertebrate would have more of a “backbone” than most fish?  Caretakers at the Seattle Aquarium were baffled by the disappearing sharks when they introduced an octopus into the tank. Find out why in this video:

What amazing creatures!

Categories: Intelligence and Neuroscience

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