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Duration:04:39
Uploaded:2017-10-31
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What has eight arms, three hearts, and and lives in the ocean? An octopus! Join Jessi and Squeaks as they take a dive into the amazing world of the super weird, super smart octopus!

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SOURCES:
https://www.amazon.com/Other-Minds-Octopus-Origins-Consciousness/dp/0374227764
http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-11109496
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https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/mar/28/alien-intelligence-the-extraordinary-minds-of-octopuses-and-other-cephalopods
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/may/26/do-you-care-about-animals-then-you-really-shouldnt-eat-octopus
https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/mar/15/other-minds-peter-godfrey-smith-review-octopus-philip-hoare
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Hey, Squeaks!

I have a joke for you: What did one ocean say to the other ocean? [Squeaks squeaks] Nothing! It just waved! [Jessi and Squeaks laugh.] Squeaks and I have so much in common.

We both laugh at the same jokes! There’s also a lot about us that looks the same. We both have noses to smell, ears to hear, and eyes to see.

And a mouth for eating cheese! Yum. But take a look at an octopus.

Whoa! [Squeaks squeaks] You’re right, Squeaks; it’s like looking at an alien from another planet! And it’s no wonder you think that! A lot of movies and T.

V. shows about aliens and monsters are inspired by the octopus, a mysterious animal from the bottom of the sea. An octopus isn’t an alien or a monster, but it is very different from the kinds of animals we’re used to seeing. Its body is built for the ocean, and it’s very different from ours!

For one thing, octopuses have eight arms! Think of all the fish you could catch with eight arms! For another, their blood is blue, and they have three hearts.

They also have ink that can be poisonous. Some octopuses are very small, but some are humongous. The biggest ones have an arm span as big as a two-story house!

And because octopuses hardly have any hard parts to their body, they can change their shape to squish themselves through very narrow spaces. That’s why so many octopuses have escaped being captured by humans – they can fit through an opening the size of a quarter! Then there are all those arms, which are really more like arms and legs and fingers and tongues all rolled into one.

Octopus arms are covered in suckers – little muscles that act like suction cups to help the octopus walk around, hold onto food, and feel and taste everything around it! And octopuses are very talented with their arms. Scientists have seen octopuses use their arms to open jars, throw shells at other octopuses, build walls out of rocks to protect their den, and even drag around two halves of a coconut!

That way, when the octopus notices someone coming, it can close the coconut around itself and hide, instead of getting eaten. But what makes octopus arms really special is that they can think on their own. Animals like you and me have brains, made of little pieces called neurons.

And an octopus has neurons, too! About 500 million of them. But more than half of those neurons aren’t in the octopus’s brain – they’re in its /arms/!

With all those neurons, each arm can take in lots of information and think about what to do next, without needing to send any messages back to the brain. So if you were an octopus you could catch a fish with one arm, walk around and explore the ocean floor with a few more, and use your brain to help another arm do your homework – and still have an arm or two left over for video games. Since octopuses are so different from us, with their minds spread all throughout their bodies, they don’t think the way you’d expect them to.

Scientists will sometimes take an animal into a laboratory to learn more about how it behaves. Most animals cooperate with the scientists. But octopuses?

Hoo boy. We’ve already talked about how octopuses are great escape artists, but they’re troublemakers in lots of other ways, too. Some have learned to shoot jets of water out of their tanks – sometimes at the lights, which can shut down the electricity, and sometimes at people!

Octopuses have also plugged up the water valves in their tanks and flooded the whole lab. And they can’t be trusted in aquariums either; sometimes octopuses will slither out of their tanks, eat the fish out of the tank next door, and sneak back into their tank when the humans aren’t looking! Octopuses sure are complicated creatures!

They can also be very curious, and they like to explore and learn new things … just like us! So even though octopuses look very different from humans … maybe you’re a little bit like an octopus. Squeaks, do you think we can act a little bit like an octopus?

Do you have questions about octopuses, or other animals, or anything at all? Grab a grownup to help you leave a comment below, or send us an email at kids@scishow.com. And we'll see you next time here at the Fort!