Octopus Is First Invertebrate to Use Tools, Turning a Coconut Into Mobile Home (Video)


Screenshot via YouTube

Scientists have found an octopus that is using a coconut shell as it's own shell. It's a brilliant mobile home idea. It carries the shell along with it - squatting it's body inside, with it's legs hanging over so it can walk along the ocean floor. When it gets to a spot that looks like a nice place to camp, it covers itself with the shell. Check out a video of the octopus in action.

Earth Times Online
writes that Australian researchers found Indonesian octopuses carrying and stacking coconut shells, which they use as protection from predators. They smartly carry the shells along with them, then huddle up inside. They'd even keep two halves of coconut shells and pull the two halves together to create a ball that they can sit safely inside. The researchers state that it's the first time they've seen an invertebrate using tools.

"The first time I saw it, I just about drowned," scientists Julia Finn said. "This was the first recorded tool use by an invertebrate, and what it shows is that it's not a skill just limited to humans and apes."

How about something like that to take the wind out of our anthropocentric selves. Maybe after we ruin the planet for ourselves, octopuses will take our place as the smartest critters.

"While I have observed and videoed octopuses hiding in shells many times, I never expected to find an octopus that stacks multiple coconut shells and jogs across the seafloor carrying them," Finn says. "I could tell that the octopus, busy manipulating coconut shells, was up to something, but I never expected it would pick up the stacked shells and run away," Finn said. "It was an extremely comical sight--I have never laughed so hard underwater."

Here's a bit of a longer video without sound, showing you a little more of how the octopus moves around with it's little mobile home.

Sea creatures using something unusual for their home can be a lot of fun. Or a little sad.
At least the coconut shell is natural...

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Tags: Animals | Conservation | Oceans

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