Friday Cephalopod: Love at first sight

The Vancouver Aquarium brought two octopuses together, and they didn’t delay at all — within minutes, it was…boom chicka wow wow. Totally not safe for work. Not the video, but if you watch this, you might well end up gnawing on your fist and moaning and whimpering right where you are.


  1. borax says

    Reminds me of the first time I was all tangled up with tentacles. Others said it lead to Lovecraftian madness, but I said “what is love. if not madness?”

  2. says

    I’ll take this as an open thread an use it to challenge PZ on an issue he often blogs about.

    You’ll often see people who I agree with about a whole lot of important subjects defending the importance of animal research to the advancement of medicine and the relief of human suffering and disability.

    The picture most people, including scientists have of the typical course of biomedical research is that you first create an animal “model” of human disease; you study the animals to try to understand the disease better; then you test treatments in the animals. Ones that seem promising then get clinical trials in humans. According to this putative reality, If PETA gets its way, and we can’t do this any more, we will never find cures for multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease and pancreatic cancer and all those other horrors. It’s too bad for the animals, but human welfare and survival are more important.

    According to Pandora Pound and Michael Bracken, writing in BMJ, not so. In order to make the best judgments about what treatments work in humans, we do systematic reviews and meta-analyses to pull together information from all the available studies, assess its quality, and combine the highest quality information to generate conclusions and assess how confident in them we can be. Lately, investigators have worked hard to overcome the problems of publication bias, cherry picking of results and other flaws in the scientific enterprise that often lead to overuse of treatments without good evidence. We have a long way to go, but we’re getting better at it.

    In animal studies, however, there is far less accountability for quality and synthesis of results. Pound and Bracken cite one survey that found only 12% of animal studies used random allocation and only 14% had blind assessment. Selective analysis and publication bias result in distortion of “entire bodies of research,” according to another reviews. Meta-analyses are rare.

    When treatments enter clinical trials in humans based on animal research, they are overwhelmingly likely to fail. P&B also note that decades of research have failed to yield a single treatment for stroke, ALS, and other conditions.

    Not only are there problems with research quality, reporting and synthesis, but it is questionable how useful animal models are for understanding human health or predicting human responses to treatment in the first place. There are just too many differences between humans and rodents, or even other primates, for treatments to translate in most cases.

    There is an enormous vested interest in animal research, and you know these claims will generate massive yelling and screaming. Note, of course, that this is unrelated to the conduct of basic research intended to understand the animals themselves. We’re talking about biomedical research purported to ultimately benefit humans. That relationship is fare more tenuous than most people believe, and the effort generates enormous waste and massive failure much more often than it generates anything useful. That’s what Pound and Bracken are arguing. This is a debate that people need to approach with an open mind.

  3. Artor says

    Cervantes, PZ actually has open threads. Your off-topic wall of text here is just obnoxious. Take this shit to the Lounge or the Thunderdome. Not cool.

  4. chigau (違う) says

    You don’t get to “take this as an open thread”.
    Go to the Thunderdome.

  5. says

    I don’t see why this isn’t an open thread, nor why my post would belong on Thunderdome, it’s perfectly reasonable and polite. Nor is it a “wall of text” or “shit.” What’s supposed to be the topic here, anyway? Calling my post “shit” is obnoxious. Take that to thunderdome.

  6. smellyoldgit says

    Sheds a whole new light on getting one’s leg over, leg over, leg over, leg over, leg over, leg over, leg over, leg over.

  7. David Marjanović says

    I don’t see why this isn’t an open thread,

    It’s not marked as being in the category “Open thread”.

    nor why my post would belong on Thunderdome, it’s perfectly reasonable and polite.

    It has the potential of triggering a long, heated discussion. That’s what the Thunderdome is for. Have you ever been there?

  8. rq says

    I bet they met online beforehand. But mostly because I don’t believe in love at first sight, not like that…

  9. says


    I don’t see why this isn’t an open thread,

    It isn’t an open thread as it has a specific topic. You don’t get to declare a thread open on someone else’s blog.

    What’s supposed to be the topic here, anyway?

    Octopus sex, cephalopods, and organisms, seeing the post title, the video, and the tags. I’d think that was bloody obvious, to say the least.

    PZ generously supplies two open threads here. It really shouldn’t be beyond the abilities of any person to click a link so helpfully provided in the sidebar.

  10. dannysichel says

    Artor@6 – they’re not endotherms, so it’s not “hot”.

    But oh baby, is it ever ambient!!!