I read an article last week about an experiment done with octopuses – a species called ‘gloomy octopuses’, to be precise – and HD-TV… Octopuses aren’t convinced by old-fashioned CRT TVs – the refresh rate is too slow to convince them. But LCD high definition TVs are apparently good enough to fool them. The researchers played videos and watched how the octopuses reacted to them. They found that octopuses don’t have ‘personalities’ – that is, there aren’t bold octopuses and shy octopuses, they change their behaviour according to the situation.
The real question is: does this justify a name change for the gloomy octopus? I couldn’t get the internet to tell me why they’re called that in the first place, but surely their gloominess has been scientifically disproved!
Other interesting things about octopuses:
Octopuses have cool eyes. Octopuses don’t have a blind spot. In human eyes, the retina and its light-perceiving cells are behind the nerves and blood vessels that connect to them, and there’s a ‘hole’ in the retina where the optic nerve comes through to the front. Octopuses have eyes the other way round, with the retina in front of the nerves, so there’s no need for a hole in the retina. Other than that, octopus eyes are very similar to ours despite our widely different evolutionary ancestry – convergent evolution for the win! Also, octopuses have horizontal pupils, not round ones like we do; and they focus by moving the lens of the eye instead of changing its shape.
Octopuses are molluscs. I didn’t know this before I looked up ‘octopus’ on wikipedia. ‘Mollusc’ in my head means ‘small squishy things in shells’ – I didn’t realise squids and octopuses are molluscs too.