Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

In Praise of the Octopus

An amazingly intelligent and indomitable creature, the octopus not only has three hearts, but also multiple brains. That's three hearts and many brains more than dumbass bi-peds who denigrate this noble cephalopod. 

The more the ignorant attack him, the higher in our esteem he becomes. 









"A Hawaiian creation myth cites the octopus as being the lone survivor of the destruction of an ancient universe that came before ours. The view of these creatures as a form of alien life is understandable. 

Octopuses, to my experience, have always belonged to a special category of earth life whose very nature begs the question: “how is this a real thing that exists on this planet?” Their outrageous, amply appendaged flesh-bag appearance is only the beginning of the many astounding features of the species, many of which continually draw the interest of the scientific community. 

One example: the octopus seems to, beyond having multiple hearts (three, in total), also possess multiple brains. In humans, when we want a physical action to be performed, signals are sent out to the peripheral nervous system from the brain, meaning that our brain is always in contact with our outer nerve cells, commanding them to carry out specific actions. If the brain’s connection with the nerves in the PNS is severed, there can be no movement. In contrast, each arm of an octopus has its own bundle of nerves that operates independently of the primary brain. An octopus has only to tell one of its arms to perform an action and the arm will see the task through to completion without the octopus having to give another thought towards it. 

Scientists have proven this phenomenon by cutting off nerve circulation between octopus arms and brains. Solitary limbs have been observed to still react to stimulation. If you thought that was the only wonder that octopus arms had to offer, think again: research is showing that in order to control all of its appendages, the octopus commands these limbs in much the same way as a skeletal creature would; that is, that the arms of the octopus are able to function as if they consisted of bones and joints, giving the creature optimum motor control when hunting, etc. The arms, which consist entirely of muscle tissue, are able to function jointly as a flexible or rigid appendage, depending on the circumstance. 

Another feature of the octopus that is instantly adaptable to changing circumstances is color. The octopus has often been referred to as “the chameleon of the sea”, which seems unfairly biased towards the chameleon, considering that the octopus is so much better at blending in with its surroundings. Specialized skin cells called chromatophores allow the octopus to release pigments that are so subtle and specific that the organism can mimic color as well as texture, making it virtually impossible to detect against its surroundings. 

These adaptations, not to mention an uncanny intelligence and tendencies toward distinctive personalities, are indicative of the remarkable nature of octopuses, not only in comparison with their fellow invertebrates but with the entire animal kingdom. 

Oh, and did I mention that they can fit into and through almost anything, and open locks? They can do that too."


As has been amply demonstrated, this distinguished cephalopod can outsmart humans, especially the tea drinking kind.




O octopus, octopus, you win our respect 
Not just for your body, supple and flecked 
For camouflage and esthetic beauty, 
But for teaching those who are snooty 
What’s true and what’s beautiful: 
Your brilliance is quite indisputable.
                                                 --S.K.





4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Smarter than the average Teapublican.

dmarks said...

And of course the greatest NHL team of all time would choose such a creature as its mascot.

(O)CT(O)PUS said...

Apologies for my absence from the post. You would think an invertebrate species such as me would not have back problems. But I do! Ooo!

Shaw Kenawe said...

Sorry to hear that. Hope you're doing better.