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The Intelligence of Cepholopods

CEPHALOPODS

Without exception, all cephalopods are active predators. The ability to locate and capture prey often demands some sort of reasoning power, especially in the case of octopi and squid.

These creatures exhibit a remarkable spatial learning capacity, navigational abilities, communication skills and predatory techniques.  Octopi have been known to be able to perform complex manipulations of their tentacles and can even unscrew the lids of jars.

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Cuttlefish, in particular, have been said to communicate with one another by a complex series of instructions communicated to other cuttlefish by rapid changes or flashes of body colour. This form of communication is also said to be used in the squid and cuttlefish’s mating rituals.

Taken from a book by Jacques-Yves Cousteau;

“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 exorcise its intelligence in determining the means to be used to overcome an obstacle in certain circumstances.”

Their ability to solve problems, overcome obstacles and the fact that all knowledge of survival is acquired for themselves, in contrast to vertebrates, where knowledge is often transmitted from generation to generation, is quite awe-inspiring.

Do these amazing and incredible sea-bound aliens deserve to be caught, killed and pickled as a starter or fried and eaten?