Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Octopus with attitude

It is surprising to know that the octopus is an amazingly smart creature. It can run a maze, unscrew the lid of a jar, and walk on two legs (scroll toward the bottom of this link for two videos). The Indo-Malayan mimic octopus can change its color, shape, and the texture of its skin to mimic other animals. Scientists like Eugene Linden believe that engaging in play behavior is also a sign of its intelligence. In his book, he tells the story of a finicky octopus that was served slightly spoiled shrimp in a lab in Pennsylvania. Rather than eat it, the octopus waited until the researcher returned, made eye contact with her, then pointedly pushed all the shrimp down the drain. A German octopus named Otto recently made headlines for squirting a jet of water at the light outside his tank to short it out, rearranging his tank and throwing rocks against the glass, and juggling the hermit crabs he shares the tank with!

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