Hmmm…this video of an octopus attacking a man looks as phony as the battle between Bela Lugosi and the rubber octopus in Bride of the Monster to me. It makes for an entertaining break in the grading slog I’m in right now, but it would have been much improved if the octopus had won.
I could believe that it happened to the guy, but that definitely looked like a re-enactment with a not very cooperative octopus. That thing was what, not quite as big as his head?
Bet the guy goes scuba diving with a big spear for protection now, though…
Tara Mobley says
That clip looked very fake. That poor octopus! How embarrassing for it.
Joker Cross says
I’ve seen similar (and better) footage before, but the guy in the other footage thought it was funny that the octopus was so curious. He wasn’t worried at all.
I know the other guy was a scientist, I don’t know about this guy.
It must have been a French octopus. Or maybe it was just a big octopussy.
If the guy was truly struggling for his life, wouldn’t the cameraman have helped out instead of just filming the “death struggle”? That diver was probably happy to have a neat encounter to make the dive exciting and unique, if not life-threatening. Now he’s got something to talk about between dives.
The Bad Astronomer says
My first thought when I saw the video was the same: if this is real, shouldn’t the cameraman do something? Oh well, I knew PZ would like it anyway. ;-)
David Attenborough has made a very beautiful documentary on Octopus Dolfleini a number of years back. Unfortunately I can’t find the year and title.
In this film he had an encounter with an octopus, a much bigger one than the “monster” portrayed in the clip mentioned above. The giant octopus took its time to investigate the bubbling alien, enveloping David in its arms. Eventually, its curiosity satisfied, it went about its own business.
Funny story came from a biologist who was trying to weigh a giant octopus. He was hauling the octopus into his boat, while the animal itself, apparently being cooperative, was climbing into the boat on the other side.
Octopus Dolfleini was portrayed mainly as intelligent, inquisitive and friendly. Of course, it has to make a living too ;-).
Can anyone enlighten me on whether any serious research has been done into whether these animals are as intelligent as they seem, and why? I hear people talk about how intelligent octopuses are and I’ve seen examples, but has this intelligence been measured in any objective way?
And if they are exceptionally intelligent – meaning, I guess, intelligent in a way we think of as more human-like – is it because of the tentacles? Does intelligence correspond in some way to having sophisticated ways of manipulating your environment with hands/tentacles? Does such potential for clever manipulation drive the development of the brain?
Just the speculations of a layman. But this seems like a good place to ask.
If you have BMJ login access then this account might prove interesting.
For everyone else, it’s about an octopus that gets fed shrimp in sealed glass jars — the octopus unscrews the jar and pops the little morsel into its mouth…
Udargo, I’m not sure this is a terribly meaningful statement, but the way it was explained to me is that the smarter cephalopods are roughly comparable to cats in terms of curiosity and problem-solving.
So, its not quite on the order of human intelligence, but still, it’s pretty impressive for an overdeveloped oyster.
Love this part
“…now he can’t breathe.”
…as the guy continues to breathe.
Which explains Kang and Kodos
Evan Murdock says
I thought they were making out.
Regarding the octo “attack” here is a first hand account which debunks the attack part. Giant Pacific Octopus are very curious and will remove masks, steal cameras, etc. if given the chance but I’ve never heard of anybody being injured by one.
Thanks for the comments in response to my question. It’s interesting to see the comparison between octopuses and cats. The smartest thing I’ve ever seen an animal do with my own eyes was something my last cat was doing.
He was an indoor cat at the time, and every morning when I left the house, I’d get a few steps away from the door and I’d hear him crash against the door at some point above ground level and then scratch frantically as he fell to the floor. For a long time, I couldn’t figure out what the hell he was doing.
Then one lazy Saturday or Sunday, I was laying on the couch and I saw him do it. He came running down the hallway to get momentum, sprang into the air about six feet from the door and slammed into the doorknob, at which he began frantically flailing his fore-paws for the second or so he was suspended there within reach before falling to the floor.
He was trying to get the door open using the doorknob. The crazy, brilliant little bastard had figured out – from watching me, I assume – that the key to getting that door open was doing something with that knob. And dozens if not hundreds of times he repeated his desperate experiment in the hope of gaining freedom.
I know I was projecting onto the situation, but it seemed like a “monolith moment” from 2001:ASO. I could imagine him watching me twist the knob with my fore-paws, and then he would look down at his own fore-paws as “Thus Spake Zarathustra” began to swell on the soundtrack of his feline life.
So the cat born with a brain that can match the potential of his paws to function as hands to grip the doorknob will… gain his freedom and run out into the street and get flattened. Which maybe explains why cats just aren’t quite smart enough to figure out that doorknob thing.