Must-see TV

Yikes! I step away from the computer for a few hours, and kaboom, everyone on the planet emails me to tell me I must see this video of an octopus using a coconut shell for a home. Well, yes, I must, and so must you.

Although where did everyone get this idea that I am obsessed with coconuts?


  1. shatfat says

    That coconut locomotion was seriously uncanny.

    Looks like one octopus was sick of the paparazzi, at the end.

  2. lordshipmayhem says

    Octopi are smart.

    And I can only speculate that you’ve been dealing with too many creationist and ID coconut heads.

  3. Sven DiMilo says

    note that they use the term “tool use” in the title…that should ruffle some feathers fur

  4. blf says

    I step away from the computer for a few hours…

    Translation: Little Pee Zed just came out of his coconut. Or finishing setting the goats on fire. Same thing.

  5. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    One for Rev. BDC:

    Interesting, I was there…

    That’s a looooooooong time ago, whew.

  6. Sven DiMilo says

    can we please get into an argument about the correct plural?

    no, NOT of “coconuts,” smartass

  7. daveau says

    So now we know how coconuts migrate…

    I caught the tool use right away. I wonder if they can crack the coconut in half to use it? Then they would qualify as took makers, methinks.

  8. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    Although where did everyone get this idea that I am obsessed with coconuts?

    But coconuts are our friends.

  9. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    When the octopusesessesi start doing this with coconuts, then we’ll know they’ve evolved a useful skill.

  10. Peter Ashby says

    As soon as I saw it PZ I refreshed the RSS feed for Pharyngula to see if you knew of it as i was sure that if you had been told or seen it yourself you would comment immediately, and so it proved and so I refrained from further filling your inbox.

    Do I get a medal?

    BTW I especially liked the way they blow the mud out of the shells with a jet of water, they are clearly well practised at the job. The video also very nicely demonstrates as they walk away with the shells how they have such exquisite control over each arm and every single sucker.

  11. Naked Bunny with a Whip says

    where did everyone get this idea that I am obsessed with coconuts?

    Your obsession with Roy Hinkley, M.A., B.S., Ph.D, is renowned.

  12. Tulse says

    We better make damn sure we don’t leave any welding equipment on the sea floor, or god knows what those critters might get up to.

  13. Ewan R says

    Octupus eats forbidden coconut (unseen footage), realizes the sin of nakedness, covers up using nearest available object. Therefore God.

    Way to shoot yourself in the foot PZ!

  14. WowbaggerOM says

    ♫You put the lime octopus in the coconut and drink ’em both up…♫

    That’s so very wrong – both from a meter and a taste perspective. Not to mention the octopus probably wouldn’t appreciate it all that much.

  15. Josh says

    Coconite would make sense form a historical point of view.

    And it has the benefit of being reminiscent of a mineral name.

  16. Draken says

    So now we know how coconuts migrate…

    But in order to maintain submersion velocity, an octopus has to peristalse once per second, right? I mean, an Asian octopus maybe, but certainly not a European one!

  17. says

    The Science Show (ABC Radio National) covered this story last Saturday. The interviewee said that they thought the octopus probably learned to use shells at first, then took over use of discarded coconut halves as the better option (lighter with bigger capacity?). The coconuts come from the human settlements along the coast. The humans have been there for a long time, so the octopus has seen the half coconuts floating through their habitat for just as long.

  18. Sven DiMilo says

    I like coconuts.
    You can break them open and they smell like ladies lying in the sun.

    (lyrics from #7 above)

  19. lautrec85 says

    I totally can see, 10 millions years in the future, a footage of some religious comfort-ish octopus talking about how the coconut has so many advantages and useful feats that it was clearly designed by Octopus Jesus for them to live in.

  20. Agail says

    Look people, this is not the first example of tool use in octopi. I was watching a show about a deep-sea diver a year ago, and there was an octopus using a water bottle for the same purpose. I, and my husband, both remember this because I freaked out about the fact that the octopus was A. using a tool, and B pre-planing for future attacks. So, give me my Emmy.

  21. Kel, OM says

    Such intricate perfection cannot be accounted for by chance, so this must be the handywork of a designer. Therefore God exists, and we now can know that God is Cthulhu

  22. rocktoppus says

    @ 31..

    Octupus eats forbidden coconut (chocolate covered tea bag), realizes the sin of nakedness…..


  23. says

    OT, but speaking of must-see TV, The Big Bang Theory mentioned Newtonmas tonight!

  24. blf says

    So, give me my Emmy.

    How about a slightly-used damp coconut?
    If you want, we can fill it with Holy Goat Ashes.

  25. says

    Finally they got a powerful shield; world domination is a fact of time. Cephalophalypse is near!

  26. SEF says

    @ Wowbagger #33:

    That was the song I was thinking of too! I had planned (when I had time, because I was busy when it was first posted on the other thread) to find a species name/component which fitted better (and to look up the rest of the lyric somewhere because I’m rubbish at hearing and recalling lyrics!); but I came back in the evening (UK) to find you’d already posted about it.

    This morning, I think I’d settle for:

    “You put the mollusc in the coconut – or let it put itself …”

    which actually fits the rhythm better than the original does anyway.

  27. IanKoro says

    I don’t know if any of you caught the links to some of the tool using crow videos linked too from this one, but there are some awesome tool making, multiple tool using examples, and a crow recreating the Aesop’s fable raising water with stones to get a treat. Badass.

    Birds are amazing.

  28. says

    Mindbending tiptoeing by them octopodes.

    And cuttlefish- very nice work. Cephalopoddity indeed.

    About plurals- “octopi” is a miscegenatory combination of a Greek root (pous, meaning foot) with a Latin plural form. On the other hand- what’s wrong with miscegenation? Lots of words do it- homosexual, for instance.

    I guess the best answer to the question “what is the proper plural form of word X?” is “what is the proper direction for organism X to evolve into?”

  29. Toni says

    Sooo, what about his video from 2008:

    And I could swear I saw some more footage similar to that at least another year earlier.