Saturday, November 24, 2012

Octopus Camouflage

Where's the octopus?

This isn't a reflex. This is a living thing processing visual information with half a billion neurons and responding. Isn't that intelligence?

Carl Zimmer in...

How Smart Is the Octopus?, Slate, 2008

...says, "So, is the octopus really all that smart? It depends on how you define intelligence." And he took a stab: "What we call intelligence is really just a set of behaviors and abilities that evolved in our ancestors as they adapted to a particular way of life."

So, intelligence is relative. However intelligent we may view an octopus, it's fair to say, as Zimmer did, "We'd fail pretty badly at an octopus-based test of intelligence."
Thanks, Melinda!


Farmer Angela and Writer Melinda said...

I'm so glad you posted it--I almost fell out of my chair the first time I saw it! It's an amazing animal, astonishing video, and a nice article.

Bix said...

The octopus must think the human is intellectually primitive, or inferior.

Bix said...

Regarding octopuses and consciousness:

"The absence of a neocortex does not appear to preclude an organism from experiencing affective states. Convergent evidence indicates that non-human animals have the neuroanatomical, neurochemical, and neurophysiological substrates of conscious states along with the capacity to exhibit intentional behaviors. Consequently, the weight of evidence indicates that humans are not unique in possessing the neurological substrates that generate consciousness. Nonhuman animals, including all mammals and birds, and many other creatures, including octopuses, also possess these neurological substrates."
-The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness

Farmer Angela and Writer Melinda said...

I love that Declaration on Consciousness. At last, we becoming less anthropocentric!!!!

Bix said...

There are times I wish I possessed the moving rock capability.

"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."