Join 3,564 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Great Old Ones - now in coconut
December 14, 2009 12:37 PM   Subscribe

Exactly how worried should we be? The Octopus is a MetaFilter favourite, but their skill development is coming on apace. Previously 1, previously 2.
posted by She Kisses Wyverns (70 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
That octopus was just distracting them with tricks while its partner was busy rifling through their gear and stealing provisions.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:40 PM on December 14, 2009 [7 favorites]


If you pause a few frames, I think he's giving us the finger (or tentacle, as the case may be) for invading his privacy.
posted by fijiwriter at 12:41 PM on December 14, 2009


Dang. This was my FPP for tomorrow. Great vid!
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 12:44 PM on December 14, 2009


1:26 to 1:42 is the last thing you will see before you die.
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:46 PM on December 14, 2009 [5 favorites]


CTHULU IS RISEN!
posted by Joe Beese at 12:48 PM on December 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


The best part of that vid is the fact that the volume control goes up to eleven.
posted by nushustu at 12:49 PM on December 14, 2009


So, if these coconut shells help protect them, why don't they grow shells and pass that protective deal down to later generations? This proves evolution is not real!

/smartass
posted by marxchivist at 12:51 PM on December 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Every time I see videos like that I despair at the thought that humanity will ever make meaningful contact with extraterrestrials if we can't even communicate with the intelligent beings that inhabit Earth.
posted by Kattullus at 12:52 PM on December 14, 2009 [7 favorites]


Yeah, it's going to be really funny when that sneaky eight legged fucker is scuttling down the steps at the subway station and hopping a turnstile with your wallet.
posted by The Straightener at 12:53 PM on December 14, 2009 [18 favorites]


That's hardly what I would "tool use". Call me when they start making horsey sounds with them.
posted by JeffK at 12:55 PM on December 14, 2009 [8 favorites]


Ingenious. This infernal creature obviously plans to find a coconut shell of sufficient volume, fill it with seawater, and use it as a crude reverse aqualung as it and its tentacled brethren begin the opening sorties of what future generations will call the First Human-Cephalopoid War.
posted by permafrost at 12:56 PM on December 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


...would _call_ "tool use".

I'll bet they can type better than I can though.
posted by JeffK at 12:56 PM on December 14, 2009


Are you suggesting coconuts migrate?
Not at all. They could be carried.
What? An octopus carrying a coconut?
It could grip it by the husk!
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:57 PM on December 14, 2009 [5 favorites]


A Brave Sir Cephalopod ran away!
Bravely ran away away.
When danger reared it's ugly head,
He bravely took his shell and fled.
posted by gladly at 1:01 PM on December 14, 2009


I for one welcome our new cephalopod overlords.
posted by Skeptic at 1:03 PM on December 14, 2009


Two things that are sparing humanity from the octopus uprising:
1) Even large species only live a few years so they don't really have time to develop much a of a transmissible culture
2) They are delicious
posted by Burhanistan at 1:06 PM on December 14, 2009 [7 favorites]


He's adorable. I bet he's real cozy, fhtagning in his lil' R'lyeh. Whose a wittle Cthulhu? Whose a wittle Cthulhu?
posted by stavrogin at 1:08 PM on December 14, 2009 [22 favorites]


That's hardly what I would "tool use". Call me when they start making horsey sounds with them.

What you're missing is that the octopus is probably using the coconut shell to make its own wireless modem - like Gilligan's Island, but updated for the Noughties.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:11 PM on December 14, 2009


So, if these coconut shells help protect them, why don't they grow shells and pass that protective deal down to later generations? This proves evolution is not real!

The common ancestor for modern mollusks is thought to have had a shell, like the nautilus of today. Some squid and octopi still have internal shells though, I believe. The advantage of using something not attached to one's body may be that they can drop it and run away if shit gets real.
posted by Thoughtcrime at 1:11 PM on December 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: pure rump steak, a terrific meat supply for any predator.
posted by NoraReed at 1:11 PM on December 14, 2009


Soon, they'll be doing the same trick with human skulls. So when you're dive buddy emerges from the sea with cool new tentacle dreds, remember, he's not your buddy anymore. Octo-zombie or regular zombie, it's all the same. Kill them before they kill you.
posted by doctor_negative at 1:21 PM on December 14, 2009 [5 favorites]


How can they be simultaneously so cute and yet creepy. Like an uncanny cuddle valley.
posted by Skorgu at 1:27 PM on December 14, 2009 [9 favorites]


cephalopods are adorable. slimy and suction-cuppy, but adorable.

(also: delicious)
posted by LMGM at 1:33 PM on December 14, 2009


Manifold: Time. That is all.
posted by Vulpyne at 1:33 PM on December 14, 2009


How can they be simultaneously so cute and yet creepy. Like an uncanny cuddle valley.

Give them some time, I bet they figure out how to grow fur and then you'll be all "who's my liddle octupus, hmmm?"
posted by tommasz at 1:35 PM on December 14, 2009


This is the part that really blew me away:
After turning the shells so the open side faces upwards, the octopuses blow jets of mud out of the bowl before extending their arms around the shell - or if they have two halves, stacking them first, one inside the other - before stiffening their legs and tip-toeing away.
And I love the video of the octopus "tip-toeing."
posted by rtha at 1:35 PM on December 14, 2009


How can they be simultaneously so cute and yet creepy. Like an uncanny cuddle valley.

I think the trick is you have to see them as one contiguous whole for them to appear cute. Their antics and movements can be endearing if you don't focus on any of the particulars. If you do start to focus on any part in particular, such as the beak or their eyes, or tentacles, or shapeshifting, or color changing, or otherwordly intelligence, or ink shooting, or venom, or suction cups, or detaching arms that wriggle after separation to confuse predators, or their slimy covering, then they start to seem somewhat intimidating.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:36 PM on December 14, 2009 [19 favorites]


Every time I see videos like that I despair at the thought that humanity will ever make meaningful contact with extraterrestrials if we can't even communicate with the intelligent beings that inhabit Earth.

Well, when the Alpha Centauri Battlecruisers arrive, we can always give their warriors coconuts and laugh while they scurry away to hide.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:41 PM on December 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


"I almost drowned laughing when I saw this the first time."

This is why I stick to shallow humor. I hate when jokes go over my head.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 1:42 PM on December 14, 2009 [6 favorites]


I don't get the whole "cute" thing with octopuses. I don't actively dislike them or anything, but if I saw one I'd probably put some distance between myself and its squishy, suction-cuppy arms.

Octopuses: Reason #241 Not to Go in the Ocean. Reason #1
posted by marxchivist at 1:44 PM on December 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Some squid and octopi still have internal shells though, I believe.

Virtually all mollusks have shells, either external or internal. Octopuses in the Incirrina order of Octopoda are the only ones that lack them.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:45 PM on December 14, 2009


I don't think of octopi as cute, but I think they're gorgeous and amazing. Same thing with squid. On the other hand, I think that the Chambered Nautilus is cute as a button.
posted by brundlefly at 1:55 PM on December 14, 2009


I think that the Chambered Nautilus is cute as a button.

To me, those things are only cute when they are dead and their shells are bisected to reveal the glorious Golden Section within.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:04 PM on December 14, 2009


Burhanistan, they're cute when alive 'cos they've been making that Golden Section for millions of years before we even had a brain to know what it was. They just, y'know, keep it to themselves.
posted by scruss at 2:36 PM on December 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Pssh. What's to worry about? I've watched my share of the Nature Channel. I mean, it's not like they've ever even been brave enough to Approach a person, let alone grab them or OMIGOD_OMIGOD_GETITOFF_GETITOFF
posted by Hardcore Poser at 2:39 PM on December 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


Adorable, adorable! I want one as a friend and pet and life companion.

Oh octopus. My little polpo. Every time you show us your smarts and coolness I feel bad for eating your kin with olive oil and paprika and sea salt mmm.
posted by NikitaNikita at 2:49 PM on December 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


I like it when it peeks out.
posted by Artw at 2:56 PM on December 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


I like the cuttlefish. Because it sounds like cuddlefish. Aw, cute!
posted by Artw at 2:58 PM on December 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


To those who don't understand why they are cute: Do you like hugs? This is like HUGS TIMES FOUR!!!

My mind is reeling with fantasies of me and my pet octopus and the fun hijinks we could get into if we were friends/it could just live on land. Right now, it could:
*Help me do the dishes?
*Entertain me by hanging off the ceiling and walls.
*Make black homemade pasta and refill printer cartridges with me.
*Sit on my head like a wig. Flex arms to pretend that I have a perm. We look at ourselves in the mirror, and laugh.
*Dangle legs out window of car on road trips and play with wind currents.
*Make precious schloop schloop schloop noises when walking across glass, tile or linoleum.
*Inspire me to multitask.
posted by NikitaNikita at 2:58 PM on December 14, 2009 [38 favorites]


(Oh, cuttlefish is yummy too. I mean cute. Yummy. *So confused*.)
posted by NikitaNikita at 2:59 PM on December 14, 2009


... I will continue my efforts to encourage octopus intelligence by eating the ones dumb enough to be caught.

Also.. land octopus would quickly discover fire. And DO NOT WANT.
posted by strixus at 3:15 PM on December 14, 2009


Yeah. For me the tastiness outweighs the cuteness for both squid and octopi. I do feel bad about it though.
posted by brundlefly at 3:23 PM on December 14, 2009


Clever crow creates a new tool is pretty impressive as well.
posted by Artw at 3:23 PM on December 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


Yeah. For me the tastiness outweighs the cuteness for both squid and octopi. I do feel bad about it though.

MURDERER!
posted by The Light Fantastic at 3:50 PM on December 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


You rang?
posted by brundlefly at 3:53 PM on December 14, 2009


I'm a vegetarian anyway, but to me, I wouldn't be eating anything that's possibly smarter than a lot of humans. I wouldn't want cephalopods discovering how to make weapons and deciding to take down those who ate their kin first. Because I bet they'd do that.
posted by darksong at 4:15 PM on December 14, 2009


Eight weapons at a time, too. Not counting the beak.
posted by brundlefly at 4:16 PM on December 14, 2009


I'm a vegetarian anyway, but to me, I wouldn't be eating anything that's possibly smarter than a lot of humans.

Speaking as someone who's taught Political Science 101 many times, I assure you that wheat is smarter than some humans.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:34 PM on December 14, 2009 [8 favorites]


I thought "Sheesh, a coconut shell wouldn't stop any halfway decent predator" then realized ... that right there is Opposable Thumb Privilege.

*hangs head in shame*
posted by Quietgal at 4:57 PM on December 14, 2009 [6 favorites]


Attached to the brain are two special organs, called statocysts, that allow the octopus to sense the orientation of its body relative to horizontal. An autonomic response keeps the octopus's eyes oriented so that the pupil slit is always horizontal.
posted by you're a kitty! at 5:01 PM on December 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Speaking as someone who's taught Political Science 101 many times, I assure you that wheat is smarter than some humans.

Well, naturally - wheat is all ears.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:09 PM on December 14, 2009 [6 favorites]


you're a kitty!: "An autonomic response keeps the octopus's eyes oriented so that the pupil slit is always horizontal."

what
posted by brundlefly at 5:10 PM on December 14, 2009


Clever crow creates a new tool is pretty impressive as well.

Are there any non-goth biologists? What's next? Black cats? Ravens?
posted by qvantamon at 5:20 PM on December 14, 2009


This thread is a fucking goldmine of favourites.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 5:49 PM on December 14, 2009


wheat is all ears

This co-evolved with its voice, which is kind of husky.
posted by flabdablet at 5:56 PM on December 14, 2009


Clever crow creates a new tool is pretty impressive as well.

This one is also pretty fucking impressive. Gotta watch it until the end.
posted by Caduceus at 6:22 PM on December 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


>>Two things that are sparing humanity from the octopus uprising:

Thing three: their gut is routed through their brain. When I think of the unfortunate layout of the human birth canal or windpipe I think to myself, okay, at least I'm not an octopus.
posted by hattifattener at 10:16 PM on December 14, 2009


Sounds like that's up there with the giraffe's vagus nerve.
posted by brundlefly at 10:32 PM on December 14, 2009


One of these days I have to write song lyrics containing the lines:

When you're around I'm like an octopus
Dirty shit runs through my brain
posted by Kattullus at 11:21 PM on December 14, 2009


IF you turn up the volume up you can hear some faint singing...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:17 AM on December 15, 2009


Silly octopus shells are for snails...
posted by Chamunks at 5:41 AM on December 15, 2009


Artw : Clever crow creates a new tool is pretty impressive as well.

I love crows. I love octopuses too. Unfortunately, getting them to love one another for the purposes of creating a hybrid have proven difficult.

I just figured that an octocrow would make the perfect pet. I mean, what could possibly go wrong when combining a pair mischievous, intelligent, tool using species? Particularly if one of them can fly?
posted by quin at 9:39 AM on December 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


I thought "Sheesh, a coconut shell wouldn't stop any halfway decent predator" then realized ... that right there is Opposable Thumb Privilege.

An invisible knapsack of privilege with 8 shoulder loops.
posted by atrazine at 10:51 AM on December 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


"An autonomic response keeps the octopus's eyes oriented so that the pupil slit is always horizontal."

In even of an emergency, your octopus can be used a spirit level.
posted by atrazine at 10:59 AM on December 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


"as a"
posted by atrazine at 10:59 AM on December 15, 2009


I just figured that an octocrow would make the perfect pet. I mean, what could possibly go wrong when combining a pair mischievous, intelligent, tool using species? Particularly if one of them can fly?

Polly shouldn't be!
posted by FatherDagon at 12:27 PM on December 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Not to further worry you, but it's not only tools they're fascinated with.
posted by tommasz at 12:16 PM on December 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


There's this site called Oceana, where you can adopt a sea creature for a donation. They do great work to protect the oceans from pollution, support proper fishing operations, etc.

Anyway, I adopted an octopus today. It comes with an official adoption certificate, which I will use to barter for my life with the cephalopod overlords come the revolution.

plus, I get a cool Octopus cookie cutter with my donation!
posted by misha at 6:25 PM on December 16, 2009


which I will use to barter for my life with the cephalopod overlords come the revolution.

Traiteur! Collaborateur! How dare you side with the Fichy government?!
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:54 PM on December 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Traiteur! Collaborateur! How dare you side with the Fichy government?!

But I am not a supporter of the dauphin, just the dolphin.
posted by misha at 12:52 PM on December 17, 2009


« Older Manufactured Landscapes: Photographer Edward Burty...  |  Su Majestad 'El Bolero' - Soni... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments