Friday, 17 July 2015
Scientists have discovered that the octopus is in fact a very intelligent creature. It has several "brains" which are located in their arms or tentacles and not in the head as you would imagine. The reason for this is that each tentacle has several suckers which are controlled independantly. So the creature needs some sort of reflex action/reaction in the arms or tentacles to control all those suckers. Thus the "brain" in the tentacles does this.
However, apart from that form of "low level" intelligence based on reflex actions scientists have discovered that the octopus can actually be taught just as we can teach a child or a pet dog.
For instance, after years of trials and experiments marine biologists have taught an octopus to count up to eight.
Despite several attempts to teach him to count further, all efforts have failed, and it is therefore unlikely that any octopus will become an accountant any day soon. This is because accountants have to count higher than eight, and also they have the benefit of calculators to help them in this respect.
Scientists have given the octopus several calculators - eight in fact. All that the animal did was juggle them over his head with great alacrity.
At this point I must confess that I had to look up the word alacrity as I did not know what it meant. The octopus picked up my dictionary and juggled it too with audacity and gusto. Audacity and Gusto were not too pleased about it though.
Anyway, the scientists took the calculators away and gave the octopus tennis balls. He promptly juggled them above his head and managed up to eight balls at a time. The octopus was given a tennis racket but he was completely useless with it. Which explains why no octopus has ever won Wimbledon or any other world tennis tournament.
It is said that if you are ever stung by an octopus on the beach the best way to counteract the sting is to pour urine on it. The acidity of the urine neutralises the sting.
This happened to me once on the beach and someone suggested the remedy to me. Unfortunately, despite the fact that many people were there at the time, no one volunteered to oblige and come to my aid.
As I'm sure you can imagine, it was not physically possible for me to self-administer this cure whilst standing on one leg. Which is where the octopus has an advantage on us humans.
In many countries the octopus is a delicious delicacy enjoyed in many upper-class restaurants. Unfortunately the dish is very expensive because the octopus runs so fast with his eight legs that no human can catch him quickly enough. Which is another reason why the octopus has been banned from entering any Olympic races or any running tournament for that matter.
On the rare occasion an octopus is caught and taken to the kitchen he wrestles with the cook and throws all the knives and kitchen utensils all over the place. When he is sometimes over-powered and put into a large pot of water, (with a little salt, pepper, and a hint of origano), the octopus uses his free tentacle to turn off the cooker.
Another intimate and somewhat delicate fact is that male octopusses find it very difficult finding a girl-friend. This is because whenever they meet, their arms are all over the place which is somewhat upsetting for the lady octopus. I mean ... can you imagine sitting at the back of the cinema and feeling an arm coming round behind your neck for a cuddle? And as you remove one arm another moves forward to replace it?
(Thinks ...) (I tried that once in the cinema and I got a black eye! I'd forgotten she was a wrestler by the name of Ten Ton Pye).
And that's all about the octopus for now. A creature with eight legs because eight brains are better than one; and mine hurts right now having written all this for you. I hope you appreciate the length and sacrifice I go to to inform and educate my readers.