The star of the FIFA world cup has been the octopus Paul. How sad that one day later, all the disgusting food shows on TV had octopuses on their menu. You saw the huge intelligent head cut, the wonderful agile arms torn into bits and fried. 

The octopus has always been as intelligent as the human. Since it is now endangered , it will probably be wiped out before we realize that Paul is us.

YouTube is loaded with evidence of octopus intelligence. One does an impression of a flounder. Another mimic coral before the camera. A third slips its arms around a jar, inscrews it , and dines on the crab inside. They do all the things that are normally tested for intelligence. They can find their way out of the most complicated mazes (My son says I couldn’t find my way out of a paper bag) . In problem-solving experiments they have proven their short and long-term memory. They have very keen eyesight (Their eyes are similar to ours with an iris, pupil, lens and retina and the ability to see colour) and an excellent sense of touch. The arms have suction cups on them and these have the ability to taste whatever they touch. Imagine being able to taste with your fingers !

In the 1950s,biologists demonstrated for the first time that octopuses have massive and complex lobed brains, on par with those of birds and mammals. 

Tests done by Oxford biologists showed that once octopuses were shown a shape they could select the same shape no matter what its dimensions. Not only do they distinguish shapes and patterns, they imitate them. The mimic octopus moves its arms to emulate the movements of more dangerous sea creatures such as lionfish, sea snakes, and eels.

Over the years, octopuses have shown all the standard signs of high intelligence. They have an excellent memory ,are clever and unpredictable. They can learn through watching others – an ability that was said to belong to mammals alone. The journal Consciousness and Cognition says" Octopuses can learn, they can process complex information in their heads, and they can behave in equally complex ways. Consciousness means they can combine their perceptions with their memories to have a coherent feel for what's happening to them at any moment.” Researchers at the Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research in Austria have found octopuses favor one eye over the other. This corresponds to our right- and left-handedness, specialization in the brain's hemispheres considered an exclusively human attribute. 

Like all intelligent beings they play. They throw balls around in their tanks. They choose their favourite toys (usually floating bottles on strings , take them into their nests and tote them along while fetching food—acquisitive behavior that is a part of playing. They are irrepressibly curious. "Mischief and craft are plainly seen to be the characteristics of this creature," the Roman natural historian Claudius Aelianus wrote in the third century A.D.: Instead of fleeing, octopuses examine divers, tugging at their masks and air regulators. Aquarium attendants tell tales of octopuses that have tormented and outwitted them. Some captive octopuses lie in ambush and spit in their keepers' faces. Others dismantle pumps and block drains, causing floods, or flex their arms in order to pop locked lids. Some have been caught sneaking from their tanks at night into other exhibits, gobbling up fish, then sneaking back to their tanks, damp trails along walls and floors giving them away. Octopuses put in tanks with an assortment of landmarks, such as jugs, plates pebbles and algae take only a few tries to find the quickest route to a hidden exit in the bottom of the tank. They can solve several completely different mazes at once.  

Anatomy confirms what behavior reveals: Octopuses’ brains generate similar electrical patterns to that of a dog, dolphin or human. The author of "Octopus and Squid: The Soft Intelligence" world famous Jacques-Yves Cousteau compares a dog and an octopus' intelligence. "When one thinks of how long it takes to teach a dog something as simple as sitting up or shaking hands, one must admit that an octopus learns very quickly; and that above all, it teaches itself. We did not show it what to do. With a dog, it takes months of patient work before the animal will do what one wants it to do. The difference between a dog learning and an octopus learning is the difference between training an animal and allowing an animal to exercise its intelligence in determining the means to be used to overcome an obstacle in certain circumstances." 

Octopuses escape from predators not just by hiding quickly but by deceit. One examples is the moving-rock trick. An octopus morphs into the shape of a rock and then inches across an open space. Even though it's in plain view, predators don't attack it. They can't detect its motion because the octopus matches its speed to the motion of the light in the surrounding water. 

Octopuses uses tools. They refashion coconut shells to use as shelters. Before retiring for a siesta the Atlantic octopus gathers stones, props these at his den entrance and, thus shielded, sleeps. The strategy combines foresight, planning, and tool use. Giant Pacific octopuses switch strategies to open different shellfish—smashing thin mussels, prying open clams, drilling tougher-shelled clams. Octopuses use their water jets as tools: to clean their dens, push away rocks and other debris, and drive off pesky scavenger fish 

When attacked they squeeze through to places that they know their predators cannot reach. Another trick is to expel a thick blackish ink to create a smokescreen. The main colouring agent of the ink is melanin, the same chemical that gives humans their hair and skin colour. Or they change colour and form to take on the spiky appearance of seaweed, or the scraggly, bumpy texture of a rock. In one experiment an octopus was put on a chess board and slowly assumed the pattern of the board in black and white ! Which means it was intelligent enough to understand the square pattern and to imitate it. 

Like humans , each octopus has a different personality . Octopuses confronted with the same situation react in different ways. One might flee, another fight or show curiosity. Stephen Duntley, a sleep specialist at Washington University Medical School has videotaped their slumber: they lie still, their skin a dull brown, for 10-15-minute stretches, then flash bold colored patterns and twitch their tentacles. Duntley says the cycling resembles the rapid eye movement sleep of dreaming humans.  

The octopus spends much of its solitary life in a den, hunting at night. It changes its dens every week .When it ventures out the octopus prefers walking using the suckers on the underside of each arm to move itself forward along the sea floor But the octopus can jet into much higher speeds ( 40 kilometres). It takes water in through its mantle and expels it forcefully through its funnel propelling it in the opposite direction. It changes direction by pointing its funnel a different way.

Octopuses, naked and vulnerable, took to dens, as early humans took to caves. Like humans, they became versatile foragers with a wide repertoire of hunting techniques. To avoid exposure, they learned geography to cover their hunting grounds methodically and efficiently. In short, octopuses came to resemble us. Their hunting done, they huddle safely in their dens, a bit like early humans around campfires. 

In the ancient religions they were worshipped . Now we eat them. In Japan they are eaten raw. Some small species are eaten alive. A “good “ chef specializes in cutting an octopus limb by limb and eating the arms while the head is still writhing with pain. Octopus is a common food in Mediterranean cuisine. 

The octopus lives less than three years. The female dies shortly after the eggs hatch. She has spent months blowing currents across them to keep them clean and protecting them from predators,without eating. The male dies a few months after mating. They babies are on their own and the survival rate is estimated at 1 percent. 

Paul is not a stray case of an octopus with predictive powers. Most animals have them: some sense the weather, other earthquakes, some sickness in humans and others bad people. So many restaurants have taken octopus off their menus. Its time you took them off your plate .

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