an alternative explanation for coconut migration
June 4, 2015 6:33 AM   Subscribe

 
Perhaps she was just looking for a bra, as per the preceding post.
posted by TedW at 6:36 AM on June 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


Or trying out as an extra on Holy Grail.
posted by Devonian at 6:53 AM on June 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


I would also like to repeat the joke in the title of the post.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:59 AM on June 4, 2015 [5 favorites]


But was it an African joke or a European joke?
posted by Dr Dracator at 7:05 AM on June 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


YAY octopuses are the very very best! So brilliant and clever! So good at opening jars! Such brilliant tool-users! Thank you for this lovely post!
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 7:06 AM on June 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


Yeah, love those little guys.
posted by Trochanter at 7:07 AM on June 4, 2015


Of course, African jokes are - oh, never mind.
posted by yhbc at 7:10 AM on June 4, 2015


This one DOES grip it by the husk.
posted by three blind mice at 7:14 AM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Anyone know how long octopuses have been around?
posted by Trochanter at 7:18 AM on June 4, 2015


It's not a question of where it grips it, it's a simple matter of fluid dynamics.
posted by yhbc at 7:19 AM on June 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


oh god i put it in the title in hopes of getting it out of the way so this would not happen
posted by NoraReed at 7:21 AM on June 4, 2015 [17 favorites]


Animals! They are smart. I hope one day we establish some mode of communication where we can talk to them, unlikely though that may be.
posted by grumpybear69 at 7:24 AM on June 4, 2015


We're not getting the answers that matter here: does it make "clop clop" noises as it swims along?
posted by bonehead at 7:25 AM on June 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Animals! They are smart.

The octopus especially:

Octopuses have the largest brains of any invertebrate . . . Another measure of intelligence: you can count neurons. The common octopus has about 130 million of them in its brain. A human has 100 billion. But this is where things get weird. Three-fifths of an octopus’s neurons are not in the brain; they’re in its arms.

But maybe, critically, they're not smart the way that we think of and value "smart". We're missing a lot, probably.
posted by ryanshepard at 7:52 AM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


I am unspeakably relieved to find out that this behaviour was observed underwater and not on land.
posted by edd at 7:58 AM on June 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


Have you guys ever seen Monty Python Holy Grail? It's this movie that came out in the seventies, and it features all the men of the Monty Python show, which aired in Britain sometime in the seventies. It was about six men who put on a lot of different costumes and spoke in different voices. One of their sketches was about one of the men buying a parrot, but then the parrot turns out to be dead. So he goes to the store and tries to get a refund for the parrot, because he had thought the parrot was alive. The store owner, for his part, he doesn't want to give back the money that he got from the parrot. So they basically have a big long argument about it.

In another one of their sketches, a man walks in a silly way, because he's part of the "Ministry" for walking silly. So that one works on a couple of levels: partly it's fun to watch someone walking in a silly way, but also the idea that there would be a ministry for that. These are just some of the sketches these men wrote, acted, and directed. One of the men also drew pictures and did some rudimentary animation.

So anyway, in the seventies, they were in this movie they made, and it was called Monty Python Holy Grail. In that movie, there's this scene where two of the men are talking to a third one about coconuts. The gist of it is that coconuts make a sound like hooves, so instead of a horse, they simulate the hoof sound by banging two halves of a coconut together. And then the third man (who is in a castle) is like "where did you get those?", and they talk about how the coconuts came from a bird that brought the coconuts to them.

Overall, it's a pretty good explanation of where you could find some coconuts, but it's also funny to think of a bird carrying a coconut! Especially if the bird is small (which I think this bird was - it was a robin or something). So they don't show the bird, but they do describe it, and it's like you can see the bird in your mind's eye, and it's like, "That's hilarious!"

There haven't been many other movies that make this joke about birds with coconuts (I can't think of any offhand), so this one really stands out to me, out of all the movies I've seen. And this octopus reminds me of it. Because in this video, the octopus is carrying the coconut just like a bird would! And when I saw the video, I nodded, because I was like, "Oh, yeah, just like the bird from the Holy Grial movie." Except here it's an octopus, which is even funnier, because it's a kind of a fish. Who comes up with these ideas? Lol.

Anyway, OP, thanks for sharing this sketch with us. I hope we'll see a lot more great Monty Python animal videos in the future, and until then, don't get too... NUTTY (jk). Have a good Thursday, everybody.
posted by Greg Nog at 7:59 AM on June 4, 2015 [76 favorites]


I was hoping for fewer Monty Python jokes and more Metroid morph ball jokes.
posted by Strange Interlude at 8:16 AM on June 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


moar like Maru-Marine
posted by griphus at 8:21 AM on June 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


That Greg Nog person sure is a funny person but sometimes I wonder if he knows more than he's letting on
posted by yhbc at 8:29 AM on June 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


Octopodes are the best! I wish I could find the old classic ‘stealth wrench-stealing cuttlefish’ video (not the wrench-stealing octopus that gets eaten by a cuttlefish video), as it's clearly going heheheheh as it scoots off with its prize.
posted by scruss at 8:58 AM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Scientists say this behavior is the first evidence of tool use by an octopus, putting the aquatic animals in a league with a small number of other animals known to do the same.

Do we count hermit crabs among that "small number"? Because isn't this pretty much the same behavior?
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:08 AM on June 4, 2015


Um, no. Hermit crabs don't have intelligence like octopuses.
posted by agregoli at 9:11 AM on June 4, 2015


China Miéville on coconut-carrying octopodes (and Halloween, Marxism, Dread, and acceptable costumes for proletarian children) (about 40 minutes of audio).
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:00 AM on June 4, 2015


I can't help but think that that octopus would be awesome at Minecraft.
posted by mudpuppie at 10:30 AM on June 4, 2015


Hermit crabs don't have intelligence like octopuses.

I realize that. I was just curious if there was some specific aspect of the octopus's behavior that distinguishes it from that of a hermit crab, such that the former is considered "tool use" while the latter is something different.
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:03 AM on June 4, 2015


I realize that. I was just curious if there was some specific aspect of the octopus's behavior that distinguishes it from that of a hermit crab, such that the former is considered "tool use" while the latter is something different.

The thing would be that, in the crabs, the behaviour is baked in at the DNA level, while little buddy just thought he'd give it a try.

They're really something.
posted by Trochanter at 11:16 AM on June 4, 2015


My favourite octopus story (which I probably have posted before):

At some aquarium, the octopus kept crawling over the edge of his tank and eating his sea urchin neighbors. So the staff started draining an amount of the water out of the octopus' tank so he couldn't make the climb.

Then what the octopus did was block the exhaust port for his water circulation until his tank filled up, climb over and eat the urchins.

How can you not love that?
posted by Trochanter at 11:24 AM on June 4, 2015 [15 favorites]


How can you not love that?

I was kind of hoping the story would end with the octopus crawling over the other side of the tank and eating all the street urchins. Imagine if Oliver! hadthat ending!
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:40 AM on June 4, 2015 [6 favorites]


When I look at an octopus, I see the template for machine AI: alien, merciless, and fond of coconuts.
posted by blue_beetle at 12:07 PM on June 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


Shamefully, I didn't get the reference in the title. I was reading recently about coco de mer and ocean currents, and that plus the whole undersea vibe... ah well.
posted by Devonian at 4:17 PM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Anyone know how long octopuses have been around?
I'm pretty sure they were around when I was a kid.
posted by Wolfdog at 4:32 PM on June 4, 2015 [9 favorites]


I'm very impressed at the fact that the octopus could recognise that two pieces of shell fit together. They may not have been near each other - they may even have come from different coconuts - in which case the octopus purposefully sought out a matching piece. That sort of goal-oriented behavior would be very sophisticated, much more so than just carrying a useful item around.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:21 PM on June 4, 2015


agregoli: "Um, no. Hermit crabs don't have intelligence like octopuses."

Exactly what the hermit crabs *want* you to think! GOOGLE JACQUES COUSTEAU.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:21 PM on June 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Well, I think that the hermit crab's activity is different in that it's not really discriminatory -- they select the first container that fits them regardless of type or material, and that can be a fairly simple instinct at work. These octopodes are making clear selections based on intended purpose, which suggests they "know" what they are doing. It's not clear that they "know" in the same way a human would "know" what kind of coconut would be best to hide in, but it seems at least as complex as, say, crow tool making, which requires a certain amount of learning and forethought.
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:57 AM on June 5, 2015


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