Saturday, February 28

Are Ocopuses Smart?

Reports of an octopus that flooded a California aquarium on Thursday led Brendan Borrell of to ask the question "are octopuses smart?":
On Thursday morning, workers filing into the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium in California were surprised to find 200 gallons (750 liters) of seawater soaking into their spanking new, ecologically sensitive flooring. It turns out that a curious two-spotted octopus had disassembled a water recycling valve and directed a tube to spew out of the tank for about 10 hours, according to the Los Angeles Times.

"It found something loose and just pulled on it," the aquarium's education manager Tara Treiber told the Times. "They are very smart creatures."

Octopuses, some 300 species of which inhabit tropical waters around the world, can change colors, squirt out poison, and exert a force greater than their own body weight. But calling the eight-armed cousin of your garden snail "smart" seems a bit of a stretch.
But apparently they are:
Scientists have found that octopuses can navigate their way through mazes, solve problems quickly and remember those solutions, at least for the short term.
Octopuses also supposedly "play" - which is considered another sign of intelligence.

Read full article, including an interview with an expert studying the intelligence of octopuses.

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