Ocean Archives - 500 Ways

Octopi Are Not Stupid

Octopi are not stupid creatures. Scientists have trained them to perform simple tasks. They have been observed pulling the stoppers out of bottles to get at the stuff inside, and even unscrewing jar lids. Some of the largest octopi live not in some remote deep part on the Indian Ocean, but in Puget Sound in the State of Washington, where they have been found with armspans up to 30 feet (9.1 meters) long.

On some distant planet with large oceans, octopi may have evolved into the dominant species, in terms of intelligence. Could beings exist somewhere that are better able to communicate, more compassionate, and more successful than humans, that have eight flexible arms and live underwater?

Big Thing in the Water

Let’s say you are snorkeling off the coast of Florida. Along comes a 12-foot long slimy thing weighing about as much as an SUV, with a quizzical expression in it’s wide set eyes. What would you do? The proper answer is to pet it. Manatees, oceanic mammals, are so huge that they have no natural enemies, and so they aren’t going to be afraid of you. They just come up to figure you out and see if you would like to pet them. Three-quarters of all manatees have scars on their backs from boat propellers.