Do octopodes (octopuses) use tools?

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Offline Madidus_Scientia

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Do octopodes (octopuses) use tools?
« on: 19/12/2009 02:52:06 »
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUN6c5yWJhQ


Quote
Coconut-carrying octopus stuns scientists

(AFP) 3 days ago

SYDNEY Australian scientists on Tuesday revealed the eight-tentacled species can carry coconut shells to use as armour -- the first case of an invertebrate using tools.

Research biologist Julian Finn said he was "blown away" the first time he saw the fist-sized veined octopus, Amphioctopus marginatus, pick up and scoot away with its portable protection along the sea bed.

"We don't normally associate complex behaviours with invertebrates -- with lower life forms I guess you could say," Finn, from Museum Victoria, told AFP.

"And things like tool-use and complex behaviour we generally associate with the higher vertebrates: humans, monkeys, a few birds, that kind of thing.

"This study, if anything, shows that these complex behaviours aren't limited to us. They are actually employed by a wide range of animals."

The use of tools is considered one of the defining elements of intelligence and, although originally considered only present in humans, has since been found in other primates, mammals and birds.

But this is the first time that the behaviour has been observed in an invertebrate, according to an article co-authored by Finn and published in the US-based journal Current Biology.

Finn said when he first saw the octopus walk along awkwardly with its shell, he didn't know whether it was simply a freak example of wacky underwater behaviour by the animal whose closest relative is a snail.

"So over the 10-year period basically we observed about 20 octopuses and we would have seen about four different individuals carrying coconut shells over large distances," he said of his research in Indonesia.

"There were lots that were buried with coconuts in the mud. But we saw four individuals actually pick them up and carry them, jog them across the sea floor carrying them under their bodies. It's a good sight."

Finn said the animals were slower and more vulnerable to predators while carrying the broken shells, which they later used as shelters.

"They are doing it for the later benefit and that's what makes it different from an animal that picks up something and puts it over its head for the immediate benefit," he said.

Other animals were likely to be discovered to exhibit similar behaviours, he said.

Copyright 2009 AFP. All rights reserved.
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hguFWEZQVy8AwxCL7YZTimCKN_qQ
« Last Edit: 19/12/2009 09:26:34 by chris »

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Offline chris

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Do octopodes (octopuses) use tools?
« Reply #1 on: 19/12/2009 09:48:00 »
I bet he goes "nuts" for a bounty bar...
I never forget a face, but in your case I'll make an exception - Groucho Marx

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Offline Madidus_Scientia

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Do octopodes (octopuses) use tools?
« Reply #2 on: 19/12/2009 12:31:43 »
I wonder if the females are attracted to his nut size

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Offline LeeE

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Do octopodes (octopuses) use tools?
« Reply #3 on: 19/12/2009 19:00:21 »
Interesting.  Octopi are known to be very inquisitive and sadly, it's often their curiosity that gets them killed.  They're known to be quite intelligent too and have been known to open sealed containers; I've seen film of one unscrewing the lid of a jar to get to a treat inside.  I believe too that people who keep them as pets have to give them toys to play with, otherwise they seem to get bored.

I've never heard of them using tools before though.
...And its claws are as big as cups, and for some reason it's got a tremendous fear of stamps! And Mrs Doyle was telling me it's got magnets on its tail, so if you're made out of metal it can attach itself to you! And instead of a mouth it's got four arses!

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Offline chris

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Do octopodes (octopuses) use tools?
« Reply #4 on: 19/12/2009 20:29:05 »
cue Neil photoshop moment, octopus armed with black and decker...
I never forget a face, but in your case I'll make an exception - Groucho Marx

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Offline RD

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Do octopodes (octopuses) use tools?
« Reply #5 on: 20/12/2009 15:13:08 »
They discovered coconut-carrying behaviour when trying to record the mimic octopus
 which does impersonations*, (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zC0zOLqYnRg @ 2:06).

[* they don't do celebrities, apart from Whoopi Goldberg  [:)]]