Monday, February 02, 2009

And now...Octopuses!

A couple of days ago I mentioned that if cats are bored, they will withdraw into themselves. Boredom is a sign of intelligence; a mind needs stimulation. Here's a story from the Washington Post that informs us that octupuses --yes, invertebrates-- also get bored in artificial environments.

Experts are willing to allow all sorts of indications of intelligence in octopuses: play, sense of humor, personality. My favorite anecdote in that newspaper story is: "...the octopus who, in a lab in Pennsylvania, was served slightly spoiled shrimp. The octopus refused to finish its dinner, and when the researcher returned to its tank, the octopus made eye contact with her, then meaningfully pushed all the shrimp down the drain." You tell her, octopus!

And it is well known that octopuses can perform tasks even some humans can't: not merely opening bottles, but opening child-proof caps. Here's a video, even though it doesn't involve a child-proof cap...

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