The Improbably Intelligent Octopus
Forget the myths of the man-eating octopus, the giant tentacled killer that wraps its arms around wayward ships and pulls them to the deep seabed. Those stories, told and retold by weather-hardened seafarers and pulp novelists, are more fiction than fact. The science on octopuses (not octopi) has revealed them as savvy, intelligent, and - yes - even affectionate tank-dwellers. Writer Sy Montgomery's recent article in Orion Magazine, "Deep Intellect", chronicles Sy's encounters with Athena, a giant Pacific octopus at the New England Aquarium. It inspired us to get inside the minds of these crafty, camouflaged cephalopods.
Sy Montgomery is the author of many books and essays about animals. She's written about birds, tarantulas, pigs, tigers and pink dolphins.
Roger Hanlon is a senior scientist at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. He researches the behaviors of octopuses, cuttlefish and squids. See his well-known video of a camouflaged squid emerging and "inking" here.