Saturday, June 16, 2007

Cephalopods are Smart, Tasty

Via Gawker, a fetching publicity photo of the host of TV's Top Chef: Mrs. Salman Rushdie, Padma Lakshmi, with two handfuls of cephalopods.

I learned this from an article on the The Cephalopod Page
An octopus is very different from a mammal. It only lives about two years. It has much less opportunity to gain and use intelligence than an elephant, which has a 50 year lifespan and three generations of a family to lead and learn from. Still, bees learn about flower locations from other bees, and they live only a few weeks as adults. However, an octopus is also not social; Humphrey (1976) suggested that intelligence has evolved to solve social dilemmas. The young octopus learns on its own with minimal contact with conspecifics and no influences of parental care or sibling rivalry. However, the octopus has a large brain with vertical and sub-frontal lobes dedicated just to storing learned information (Wells, 1978): it has the anatomy for a robust, built-in intelligence.
Octopi are much smarter creatures than we have traditionally given them credit for. Test your octopus knowledge with this quiz at

They are also delicious. I am about to prepare a meal of various cephalopods with olive oil and spagetti.


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