As you know, I’ve been reading about octopuses. (Kory Stamper, an associate editor at Merriam-Webster says I am not an ignorant slob for using “octopuses” as the plural of octopus instead of “octopi”.)
Octopuses are extraordinarily intelligent. We have a hard time knowing just how intelligent they are because they are so different from us. We branched away from them so early in the tree of life that you could almost consider them alien. Their brains and nervous systems developed separate from ours. (So evolution kept selecting for brains in entirely disparate beings. Isn’t that neat?) An octopus is probably the closest we’ll come to a smart alien.
And you know what? Octopuses’ brains allow for something that looks like anger:
Here’s the write-up that accompanied that video, fascinating in its own right:
Angry Hungry Amazing Octopus Video
Here’s how she describes the final seconds in the video:
Then it became very clear to me. The octopus was crouched low, eyeballing me. It had become tired of my presence and wished to continue its hunt alone. I could almost see the cogs turning in its mind, planning how it might best lose me. Although it could easily have swum in the opposite direction, it knew I could swim to keep up with it, and the look in its eyes told me exactly what it conspired to do. In the final seconds as it prepared to torpedo straight towards me as I knelt on the sandy floor, I planned my own escape path directly up into the water column. What transpired can be viewed in the final seconds of the video above, choreographed between two creatures who understood each other’s anticipated movements with crystal clarity.
Thanks to Bill and Miss Cellania.
I love octopuses and squid. Love to watch them. It’s just a shame their life spans are so short–only a few years (~3).