PS - Whether it’s octopuses, octopi, or the most unpopular; octopodes, these molluscs stand out from their cousins with their amazing intelligence and superhero-worthy abilities.
Forget chimps, dolphins, orang-utans, the most amazing, intelligent, and fascinating animals (in my opinion) are octopuses. Whether it’s octopuses, octopi, or the most unpopular; octopodes, these molluscs stand out from their cousins with their amazing intelligence and superhero-worthy abilities.
Octopuses instantly stand out (or blend in) from the crowd with their incredible ability to camouflage rivalled only by some squid and most cuttlefish. Unlike chameleons, which use crystals embedded in their skin to shift the way light bounces off them, octopuses have millions of tiny cells beneath their skin called chromatophores, which contain an elastic sack of pigment that is either coloured black, brown, orange, red or yellow. Muscles squeeze the balloon, making the colour rise to the top, so the colour appears brighter, allowing an octopus to change to a completely different pattern in less than a second.
But the most impressive thing about octopuses is their incredible intelligence. They possess problem-solving abilities that would put a human to shame. It is because of this that octopuses are incredibly hard to keep, as they very easily get bored of their tanks and try to escape. An example of this is the story of Inky, an octopus who got bored of his old aquarium and escaped through a drainage tube that lead into the sea. Possessing little to no bones, it was easy for Inky to squeeze his flexible body through the tiny passage to freedom.
Other octopuses have been known to disassemble the plumbing in their tanks on a rainy day, with disastrous consequences. Because of cases like this, aquariums have to work hard keeping their octopuses entertained. One method is giving them jars to play with. Octopuses can lock themselves inside a jar, and then open it from the inside. Other methods include giving the octopuses Rubik’s cubes (which they can actually figure out what to do with) or complex puzzle boxes. But the incredible intellect of an octopus doesn’t stop there.It was once thought that tool use was the hallmark of humanity, not seen in any other form of life. We know now, of course, that many animals use tools, from chimps to dolphins to crows, but tool usage in an animal that doesn’t even possess a vertebrate? And until relatively recently, octopuses have had no sightings of tool usage, but in January of 2015, an octopus was seen carrying two halves of a coconut shell as a form of mobile shelter, a sight so hilarious that it apparently nearly caused Julian Finn, a researcher from the Victoria museum in Australia, to drown underwater because he was laughing so much. So, you may be asking (though probably not), if octopuses are so intelligent, why are we the dominant species and not them? Well, the answer is quite sad. The longest lifespan of any octopus is a meagre five years.
Yet in captivity they can live nearly twice as long as in the wild. Why? Because males die once they have mated, and females starve themselves protecting their eggs. In captivity they never breed. The sad truth is that octopuses have been held back by reproduction. So what do you think? Would octopuses be our overlords if it were not for their suicidal breeding habits?