Thieving octopus displays remarkable skills on camera in South Africa

BIV

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Apr 22, 2002
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Marine biology is science, right?

Thieving octopus displays remarkable skills on camera in South Africa

By: Pete Thomas, GrindTV.com

The octopus is highly intelligent and extremely clever, but researchers in South Africa were still surprised to witness, on videotape, one of the mollusks stealing a bait canister that had been secured to a chain in front of an underwater camera.

The octopus managed this incredible feat by untying three cable ties, while fighting off a pajama catshark. (The octopus appears at the 1:00 mark of the video posted below, and the shark soon afterward.)

The footage is from earlier this season but science writers only recently began to reveal the nature of the University of Cape Town research, which involves a study of the pea-green waters of False Bay, and the type of critters that exist in a coastal region thought to be over-exploited.



Of the great octopus caper, research assistant Lauren de Vos told the Cape Times: "We were flummoxed by how clever they are, smart enough to un-clip the bait canister which is not easy, and we've had several pieces of equipment stolen. We've got it all on film."

The cameras, placed in front of baited canisters, run continuously for an hour at a time and allow scientists to document species and behaviors. The project has been ongoing for about three years.

Several types of sharks, including a great white, are among the predator species to have been tallied, though the larger sharks do not appear in the accompanying video.

The project is designed, De Vos said, "to get an understanding of the conservation status of these species."

What researchers did not count on was having to deal with thieving octopi.
 

Creasy Bear

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What do you get if you mix an octopus with an African?

I don't know, but it sure can shoplift.
 

Bluestreak

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Sep 27, 2007
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#7
Can you tell that diver wasn't Italian?
It would have become an appetizer.

-edit-
Also, Octopi have built-in biological death clocks.
Once a female lays her eggs, it's just a matter of weeks before she dies.
It's the one reason why Octopi haven't taken over the world.
 

MetalBender

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Also, Octopi have built-in biological death clocks.
Once a female lays her eggs, it's just a matter of weeks before she dies.
It's the one reason why Octopi haven't taken over the world.
No one to raise them right and teach them not to turn to a life of crime?
 

Atomic Fireball

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#9
These gentle creatures' behavior is strikingly similar to that of the Jews vis-à-vis the world monetary system.

One little zig instead of a zag and it could have soooooooo been octopi that rose to the top of the food chain instead of humans.
Predator, big brain, prehensile limbs - BOOM!

What's a trip is they're very smart - somewhere between dogs and chimps - but as invertebrates they and their nervous systems are profoundly different from us. Probably the best inkling (get it?) of what alien intelligence might be like.
 

Neckbeard

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Whenever you ask people "So, humans kill each other off somehow and that leaves the question: What steps up?" the answer is cephalopods. It has to be.
 

Lord Zero

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#11
One little zig instead of a zag and it could have soooooooo been octopi that rose to the top of the food chain instead of humans.
What's a trip is they're very smart - somewhere between dogs and chimps - but as invertebrates they and their nervous systems are profoundly different from us. Probably the best inkling (get it?) of what alien intelligence might be like.
Squid are even smarter than octopi.
 
Dec 12, 2007
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#13
I don't know for a fact, but I don't think that's true.
I'm fairly certain its the octopus that's smarter. It makes sense for it to be smart, its a lone animal so it has to be more clever. A squid is more commonly hunting in packs or groups so it can afford to rely on others around it.
 

Lord Zero

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#14
I don't know for a fact, but I don't think that's true.
I'm fairly certain its the octopus that's smarter. It makes sense for it to be smart, its a lone animal so it has to be more clever. A squid is more commonly hunting in packs or groups so it can afford to rely on others around it.
My belief in squid superiority comes from an experiment that I've talked about before.

A squid was presented with a crab in a sealed jar. Through trial and error, the squid learns how to open the jar and eats the crab. Later, that squid was presented with another crab in another sealed jar. This time, however, the jar-savvy squid was in the presence of another squid with its own crab in a jar. The second squid had not been exposed to the tentacle-stopping power of a sealed jar before. The jar-savvy squid opens the jar with no problem and again devours the death row crab. The second squid observes the jar-savvy squid and applies what it learned by successfully opening the jar and eating its crab. The second squid becomes jar-savvy. After the experiment, the two squid presumably opened a squid university near the ocean floor.

For honesty's sake, I should note that I read about this years ago and haven't been able to find anything about it since. It seems that octopi are used for these experiments with far greater regularity than squid.
 
Last edited:
Dec 12, 2007
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#16

The octopus and cuttlefish can do this by sight. Their brains are capable of processing visual images into 3D patterns and textures, transforming in both color and shape.

They are the big fat smarty pantes of the ocean. Second only to the Blue E-Rock, weighing in at 100 tons and sucking down thousands of gallons of coke floats a day off the coast of Florida.



Sorry Erock.


Also mimicking the behavior of those around you is a common group or pack behavior. Watch the guy next to you because he may see food or a predator you don't see. It saves energy when you don't have to devote as much time to forrage/keep watch at the same time. It also splits resources but that's whats known as a "tradeoff".