Octo-nom
October 1, 2012 3:18 PM   Subscribe

Thieving octopus (SLVimeo, warning: banjo)
posted by zippy (58 comments total) 45 users marked this as a favorite

 
Not cool. The banjo warning suggested to me an octopus playing a banjo and I was sorely disappointed.
posted by brundlefly at 3:25 PM on October 1, 2012 [17 favorites]


WHAT that octopus stole that shit like a straight up BOSS it was all hiding the goods from the fish with his body while it was all fiddlin' with the locks and at the same time 1-2 tentacle-handling a flippin' shark oh snap that was awesome.
posted by lazaruslong at 3:26 PM on October 1, 2012 [27 favorites]


Not cool. The banjo warning suggested to me an octopus playing a banjo and I was sorely disappointed.

One tentacle to fret, five to pluck the strings, and two to lock the exits.
posted by zippy at 3:29 PM on October 1, 2012 [23 favorites]


I love it...the whole time keeping at least one tentacle on dinner.... THAT just happened!
posted by aacheson at 3:33 PM on October 1, 2012


Holy crap that is so awesome. I ♥ octopus!

Seriously that was so awesome I am like freaking out right now. The best part was how that shark was all "Hey! I want some of that!" and the octopus just pinned it to the seafloor with a couple of tentacles while it went about cutting the cable ties that were holding the bait canister in place, presumably with its beak.

Meanwhile all those stupid fish hadn't even fully realized that the bait canister was gone by the end of the video, and were still trying to figure out whether or not they could maybe eat the camera.

Man, octopus.
posted by Scientist at 3:34 PM on October 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


You know he went home and made mince-meat out of that canister!
posted by aacheson at 3:36 PM on October 1, 2012


What are they building??
posted by TwelveTwo at 3:42 PM on October 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


I am not sure "thieving" is the right word. I mean, they just left food lying around where an octopus could find it! An octopus does not hesitate to break the laws of god or man; each octopus is a law onto his/herself.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:46 PM on October 1, 2012 [21 favorites]


I would like to see a video of the first visit.
posted by psycho-alchemy at 3:50 PM on October 1, 2012


There is no video of the first visit, because the octopus stole the camera.
posted by Scientist at 3:58 PM on October 1, 2012 [8 favorites]


There is no video of the first visit, because the octopus stole the camera.

You have no idea how badly I want this to be true!
posted by Strass at 4:01 PM on October 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


I would like to take a moment to comment on this as I am, in fact, an octopus. "WHAT?" you are asking yourselves, "I thought she was a pterodactyl?" I KNOW! I am an octopus by birth and a pterodactyl by marriage (although in regular life I didn't change my last name). I expect this to cause some confusion.

Anyway, on behalf of my octopus brethren I would like to thank you for your support and kind words. It is true that we are immensely clever and pretty bad-ass. It is always gratifying to be recognized for how delightful we are. Please, if you see an octopus, feel free to give us a subtle salute to let us know that you respect us and our varied abilities.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 4:01 PM on October 1, 2012 [16 favorites]


Yay for the octopus.

Find myself wishing I had four more arms. It would make managing two preschool-age boys a lot simpler.
posted by ambrosia at 4:05 PM on October 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


"So that'll be your exam. Oh, and we want you to hold a shark against the ocean floor the whole time, too."
posted by SkinnerSan at 4:05 PM on October 1, 2012 [5 favorites]


Octopus stole the camera. Indeed.

I think that was also posted on the blue.
posted by bilabial at 4:07 PM on October 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


The post title is gold, zippy.
posted by George_Spiggott at 4:10 PM on October 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


The octopus' treatment of the shark is the deep sea's equivalent of a sibling rivalry. "Why are you hitting yourself? Why are you hitting yourself?"
posted by mudpuppie at 4:22 PM on October 1, 2012 [13 favorites]


bilabial, that is a great video but I was disappointed to learn that octopus are terrible cinematographers.
posted by Scientist at 4:23 PM on October 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


well, maybe you just don't understand the octopus's art. After all, I see you are a scientist! What does science know of art?
posted by bilabial at 4:31 PM on October 1, 2012


Previous visit from the octopus.
posted by thomas j wise at 4:32 PM on October 1, 2012


Did she say a "pyjama cat shark"? That conjures up all sorts of interesting images.
posted by jamesonandwater at 5:02 PM on October 1, 2012



Anyway, on behalf of my octopus brethren I would like to thank you for your support and kind words. It is true that we are immensely clever and pretty bad-ass.


And very, very tasty. About which I feel very, very guilty, though I'm sure an octopus would not feel guilty about eating me.
posted by Forktine at 5:03 PM on October 1, 2012


And very, very tasty.

I was out to dinner with friends a while ago, and the subject of octopus on the menu came up. I commented that I can't bring myself to eat octopus, because of how intelligent they are. My friend across the table immediately shot back "do you eat pork?"

Touché.
posted by ambrosia at 5:11 PM on October 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Touché

Or, as the octopus might say, "Touché, touché, touché, touché, touché, touché, touché, touché."
posted by Forktine at 5:17 PM on October 1, 2012 [24 favorites]


Is it a grand gesture to anonymously give an octopus I think is beautiful a banjo?
posted by dephlogisticated at 5:56 PM on October 1, 2012 [16 favorites]


ambrosia: Find myself wishing I had four more arms. It would make managing two preschool-age boys a lot simpler.

Ah, but when they're school-aged you'll be thankful for all the practice! Still, a couple of additional tentacles couldn't hurt.

What about a beak?
posted by sneebler at 6:08 PM on October 1, 2012


OK, OK, so I know a lot of weird and (to me) amazing facts about octopus, and I'm sure you do too. I can't resist dropping just one, though. Think about this: octopus are very intelligent, perhaps as intelligent in some ways as primates. They use tools, they learn from observing each other, they can open jars, steal bait canisters, etc. Very smart critters. But they aren't even in the same phylum as us. Hell, they're not even deuterostomes! (Our mouth evolved from the same line of cells as their anus did, and vice versa.) Our bodies are totally backwards from each other, our heads the product not of divergent modification from a head-having common ancestor but rather of convergent evolution. The most we share in common with them is bilateral symmetry.

Anyway, our most recent common ancestor with octopus might have looked something like this, though if you check the article you will find that that might actually have been an ancient mollusc, so more like an octopus than a human. Our most recent common ancestor was some kind of soft-bodied blob that existed well over half a billion years ago and had no head, no eyes, and only a very basic, decentralized nervous system.

In other words, our common ancestor had no brain. Unlike all the other animals that we think of as smart -- chimpanzees, dolphins, crows, etc -- the octopus brain evolved completely independently from ours! I mean, just look at it. (That diagram shows what you would see if you looked up at the brain from underneath the tentacles.) It's got three lobes instead of two, and yes, that's the esophagus running through the middle of it. (That's a lateral view, with the optic lobes cut away.)

It's completely unrelated to our brain and in fact it gets even weirder because as it turns out octopus arms are semi-autonomous and pretty much just take high-level commands from the brain (like, "grab that stupid shark and hold it down") and then get on with the business of figuring out how to actually move their muscles in such a way as to accomplish those directives more-or-less on their own. The whole stunningly intelligent and curious assemblage of neural machinery bears only the most fundamental and distant resemblance to our own, and it evolved all on its own for lo these many hundreds of millions of years to suit the needs of a soft-bodied marine organism with eight arms and that lives for only a few short years at most, yet it rivals some of the best brains that our own evolutionary heritage has come up with.

Octopus are truly the closest thing to alien intelligences that exists on this planet. If we ever do meet creatures from another world, the experience will be less like trying to communicate with someone from another country or even like trying to communicate with an elephant or a dolphin, and much more like trying to get inside the squishy, gelatinous head of an octopus. I love them so much.
posted by Scientist at 6:13 PM on October 1, 2012 [205 favorites]


ambrosia, I'm a vegetarian anyway, but I always tell people I don't eat octopus because I don't want to eat anything smarter than me. The way I figure, when they find a way to walk on land and take over the earth, I'll be spared because I ca rightfully say I didn't eat any of their kin.

I like pigs, too, absolutely, and I don't eat them (being vegetarian and all) but I'm not worried about them wanting to take over the world.

Which is to say: The octopus is the coolest animal and I will stick to that story.
posted by darksong at 6:20 PM on October 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Dang, I just want to hang out in this thread all night, swapping videos and facts about octopus. Here's a video of two octopus mating! It is every bit as weird as you might expect.
posted by Scientist at 6:24 PM on October 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


@Scientist

I am so jealous of that diver. I've always really wanted to see an octopus (well really any cephalopod) in the wild.

The closest I've come have been sea slugs (Nudibranch) in the south pacific, but they aren't that cool or closely related...
posted by Strass at 6:39 PM on October 1, 2012


I know! I'm dying to see an octopus on a dive sometime. The greatest thing is that while you're checking out the octopus, the octopus is also checking out you.
posted by Scientist at 6:41 PM on October 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Aaaaah too cool! If only I liked marine biology as much as molecular biology...
posted by Strass at 7:00 PM on October 1, 2012


I know! Though I think it's better if I just keep octopus as my hobby species because if I went in for studying them in a serious way I'd no doubt eventually have to collect and dissect one and I don't know if I could take that.
posted by Scientist at 7:06 PM on October 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


that was great. what frickin accent does that woman have? she sounded half-german, half-australian.
posted by facetious at 7:08 PM on October 1, 2012


One tentacle to fret, five to pluck the strings, and two to lock the exits.

If only I could favor this more than once!
posted by BlueHorse at 7:21 PM on October 1, 2012


Some octopodes are heavy drinkers.

P.S. Because of this thread I've been watching YouTube videos of cuttlefish for the past 15 minutes instead of going to bed.
posted by subbes at 7:47 PM on October 1, 2012


that was great. what frickin accent does that woman have? she sounded half-german, half-australian.

I was thinking French and Australian, myself. Definitely odd!
posted by Malor at 9:15 PM on October 1, 2012


Given that False Bay is off Cape Town, I'm going to go with South African on the accent.
posted by Scientist at 10:11 PM on October 1, 2012


Malor: "that was great. what frickin accent does that woman have? she sounded half-german, half-australian.

I was thinking French and Australian, myself. Definitely odd!
"

Sounds South-African to me.
posted by moody cow at 10:14 PM on October 1, 2012


ugh, preview
posted by moody cow at 10:16 PM on October 1, 2012


Love how it swoops in the frame, all purpose and tentacle, like an aquatic Mr. Wolf.
posted by deo rei at 10:18 PM on October 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


South African accent. As if being called de Vos and the footage location being Cape Town wasn't enough of a clue.

A few years ago I was fishing in a weedy bay and retrieving my line I foul-hooked an octopus. It felt like a pulsing bag of jelly in my hands. I thought momentarily about keeping it, either to eat myself or for bait, but it gave me an intelligent and soulful look and I knew I would have to let it go. It voomed off at speed the second I put it back in the water.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 12:45 AM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Well, obviously we have an OCTOPUS in False Bay. He’s climbin’ up yo anchor chains, he’s snatchin’ your cat sharks up, tryin’ to hold ‘em down. So y’all need to hide yo bait canisters, hide yo chum buckets, and hide yo cameras cause he stealin' everything out here."

Eyewitness report on the "Seabed Intruder"
posted by drlith at 3:51 AM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I commented that I can't bring myself to eat octopus, because of how intelligent they are. My friend across the table immediately shot back "do you eat pork?"

But if you could make bacon out of octopus, they would be an endangered species.

Mmmmmm. Octopus bacon.

(Just kidding, cephalopods.)
posted by Enron Hubbard at 6:18 AM on October 2, 2012


I thought pajama cat sharks lived in bedrooms and only came out at night to feed on feet that stick out?
posted by orme at 8:06 AM on October 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


Great comment, Scientist. The weirdest thing about octopuses that I can get my head around (which is far from the weirdest thing straight up), is that they are so short-lived. Here in the vertebrate world, intelligence correlates roughly with lifespan and critters with the smarts of a housecat, roughly speaking, seem to live about 10 years or so, sometimes longer. Do most octopuses meet a violent end in the wild, or do they kick the bucket in 2 - 3 years even after a cushy life in an aquarium?

It seems strange for an organism to devote so much metabolic energy to growing a big brain (or central brain + peripherals man, that's just freaky) without getting any benefit in terms of longer reproductive life. So what's their deal, evolutionarily speaking?
posted by Quietgal at 10:37 AM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Do most octopuses meet a violent end in the wild, or do they kick the bucket in 2 - 3 years even after a cushy life in an aquarium?

The natural death of an octopus comes after spawning. My hypothesis is that octopus parents are simply so overwhelmed by the prospect of raising a hundred thousand kids that they die of the oh fucks.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:04 AM on October 2, 2012 [10 favorites]


Yesterday I was hoping that the banjo music would be the Banjo Duel from Deliverance. Today I'm convinced that it should be.
posted by BlueHorse at 11:08 AM on October 2, 2012


> they die of the oh fucks

To be fair, a lot of K-selected parents feel this way too, judging from some of my friends.

posted by Quietgal at 12:11 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Blindsight put it well: An octopus has a staggering amount of nerve/brain tissue for its size, and a lot of it is cortex. It should be as smart as a person! However, nearly all of that processing power is devoted to running all those individual suckers and all that infinitely articulated tentacle muscle.
posted by tehloki at 2:33 PM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Octopus stole the camera. Indeed. yt

i got htis guys camera lol
posted by homunculus at 5:34 PM on October 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


Metafilter: infinitely articulated tentacle muscle.
posted by zippy at 7:58 PM on October 2, 2012


Here's a video of two octopus mating! It is every bit as weird as you might expect.

What is the blue fish doing? Is he adjudicating? Getting a porno-fix? Or is it some sort of weird marine threesome?

My octopus story is that one afternoon when I was doing fieldwork on a small Pacific island, I was feeling a bit sorry for myself, so I went and sat down on the beach at the back of the island for a few hours. I gradually became aware of movement in a rockpool near me and realised there was a quite large octopus there. It pulsed and changed colour and moved around and was generally cool enough that my hours-long sulk turned into an hours-long octopus observation session.

At lunch that day my host family asked what I'd been up to, and I started telling them about this awesome octopus and how big he was... and then I noticed they were looking way too interested. "Where is this octopus?" the father asked me.
"It's down the beach over-"
"You haven't started cooking dinner yet, have you?" He asked his wife.
"-over there to the right of those dinghies," I finished. Pointing in the opposite direction from where the octopus really was.

I hope his descendents will remember me when they take over the world.
posted by lollusc at 10:30 PM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Damn, Cephalopods and banjos? You really know the way to a man's heart.
posted by TheCoug at 1:53 AM on October 3, 2012


Metafilter: a staggering amount of nerve/brain tissue for its size, and a lot of it is cortex.
posted by zeptoweasel at 10:37 PM on October 4, 2012 [7 favorites]


Man who blamed octopus for girlfriend’s death jailed for life
posted by homunculus at 9:14 AM on October 13, 2012


Do most octopuses meet a violent end in the wild, or do they kick the bucket in 2 - 3 years even after a cushy life in an aquarium?

They have short life spans in captivity too.
posted by purpleclover at 12:33 PM on October 18, 2012


Otto and Victoria
posted by homunculus at 1:17 PM on October 28, 2012


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