Octopus!: The Most Mysterious Creature in the Sea
Katherine Harmon Courage
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
“A pleasant, chatty book on a fascinating subject.” — Kirkus Reviews
Octopuses have been captivating humans for as long as we have been catching them. Yet for all of our ancient fascination and modern research, we still have not been able to get a firm grasp on these enigmatic creatures.
Katherine Harmon Courage dives into the mystifying underwater world of the octopus and reports on her research around the world. She reveals, for instance, that the oldest known octopus lived before the first dinosaurs; that two thirds of an octopus’s brain capacity is spread throughout its arms, meaning each literally has a mind of its own; and that it can change colors within milliseconds to camouflage itself, yet appears to be colorblind.
that would not look all that different from the deep-sea octopuses in the cirrina group that exists today, which have webbed arms and small fins. The oldest described octopus fossil is known as Pohlsepia and now lives at the Field Museum in Chicago. The full sample looks rather more like a cow patty—flattened out into a globular splat—than a rock containing a rare, precious fossilized octopus. But researchers say they can make out its eight arms, two eyes, and maybe even an ink sac. It’s
objects,” Kuba notes. “In octopuses, this is really in its absolute infancy.” Kuba confesses to starting the research in naïveté, hoping to jump right into his postdoc recording of the nerve activity of octopuses while they completed learning and memory tasks. “It was a completely miserable failure, because it turns out they just pull the wire.” But with improving—and shrinking—technology, he says, we are getting closer. Hochner’s research group did manage to implant electrodes in an octopus to
a squirming Korean specialty: “live” octopus. I ventured out to the corner of Crocheron Avenue and 162nd Street after work on a balmy May evening (by way of the Number 1 train to Penn Station, the Long Island Rail Road to a wrong stop, to an incorrect address on Yelp, and at last, after a twenty-minute walk through a suburban neighborhood of Flushing). When you do make it to Sik Gaek to confront your outré culinary curiosity, don’t plan on entering unnoticed. Each customer who arrives is greeted
decentralized processing in the cloud, making for a more efficient—and reliable—network. So as we humans move away from machine-based computing and into the cloud, we’re making one small step toward creating a more cephalopod-like system. “It’s all from the same problem, but with different solutions,” Wood says. Regrowing Limbs Not only are octopus arms relatively autonomous, they are also easily replaceable. Although they’re not harvested individually, these impressive arms are
212 André, Jessica, 213 André, Michel, 184 Andreino (octopus), xiv, 162–63, 163 Antarctic, 13, 80, 189 Apple, Fiona, 3 Arctic “Dumbo” octopus (Grimpoteuthis), 13 argonaut (Argonauta), 63 Aristotle, 6, 12, 63, 67, 120–21, 174, 175, 177–78, 194–97, 202, 204 Armstrong, Roy, 53–55, 54, 171–73 Atlantic violet blanket octopus (Tremoctopus violaceus), 31 autophagy, 126 Baraniuk, Richard, 84, 93–94, 97, 102–7, 110, 112 Basil, Jennifer, 143 bats,