Squid Wrote This?


So, enter comparative psychologists.

Nicola Clayton did not begin to study the cuttlefish. A Cambridge professor built his career around the extraordinary behavior of the bush jay, a small blue-black bird that later stores food. In 1998, he and his colleagues showed that birds could remember how long it had been since they had stored food items. they can plan for the future, storing food in places where they have reason to believe they will get hungry later.

Their behavior is more complicated than learning that if you press a button or recognize a pattern, a food will appear that many animals can. With the exception of other crows such as monkeys and crows, the few animals studied so far have the full portfolio of mental abilities these birds display.

However, cuttlefish and other cephalopods could be an interesting test case. Marine biologists have observed that octopus and cuttlefish do not use the same route two days in a row when fishing. Christelle Jozet-Alves, a comparative psychologist, wondered if this meant that they had a memory like crows and could relive what happened to them in the past. In 2013, Dr. with Clayton and a collaborator a fascinating study of squid claims to have done. Dr. Clayton, Dr. Schnell and his colleagues began to ask the question: Do squids have any idea of ​​the future and the recent past? Can they make decisions about things they think might happen in the future?

Octopuses have long puzzled observers with their apparent cunning. a YouTube clip An octopus with over 2 million views collects coconut shells and takes them out of the car, maybe to use them as tools later. Squids also have large brains and sophisticated behavior. But cuttlefish are easier to grow in the lab than squid and easier to study than octopuses, which are often cold-blooded and may refuse to interact with an experimenter, said Dr. Schnell.

Of course, there is also the Houdini factor.

“You get little escape artists with octopuses. “You come in the morning and no matter how tightly you’ve sealed an aquarium tank, you’ll find them crawling out,” he said.


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