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The deal with octopuses

December 16, 2009 - 1:29 pm

On the letters page of this week’s CityBeat, we dedicate the issue to the Indonesian veined octopus. This initially confused some people in the office, so let me take a moment to explain why.

First of all, allow me to enumerate the awesomeness of the octopus.

1. They have eight legs. Awesome.

2. They have suction cups. Really friggin’ awesome.

3. They can spray ink. Smoke-screenilicious!

4. They can camouflage themselves. Way better than a chameleon.

5. They’re way smart. They’ve been observed finding their ways through mazes. And…

As reported yesterday, scientists in Indonesia have documented octopuses using tools. A relative of the snail is using tools! They’ve adapted to the halved-coconut waste by finding ways to pick up and run with the coconuts and then use them as hiding places. Seriously, they’ll get inside, suck themselves to the bottom, then straighten their legs and start running across the shelf. Here’s the video:

And here’s the octopus meticulously arranging the pieces of broken glass into shelter:

Totally awesome and humbling for human kind, ne? Honestly, more than dolphins, I think octopuses have an incredible chance of succeeding us as the smartest species on the planet. We’re just trying to get on their good sides now.

One Comment leave one →
  1. nomatophobic permalink
    December 16, 2009 - 2:33 pm 2:33 pm

    Tweet repeat: “You failed to mention that some octopuses kill sharks. And, when they evolve to walk on land, we’re doomed. I demand correction.”

    Octopus vs. Shark on National Geographic:

    …if you ignore the Bob Saget-like narration, this is actually quite badass. And pants-crappingly scary.

    I don’t know what your word count cut off is, but if you could extend the awesome list to a couple hundred pages, it might do this Steven Seagal of the sea kingdom justice.

    For reasons beyond me, the octopus has not made the list of scariest threats to mankind since the A-bomb. We all need to be more informed, or get picked off the top of the food chain when they finally get around to their inevitable take-down.

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