Monday, April 18, 2016

F**k This, I'm Outta Here, Said the Octopus

Hi there! Welcome to I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You, a fish bowl blog lost upon the ocean of the internet. I'm Dave-El and my ability to communicate with fish is of no help in this situation. 

About a week ago, the story of a daring escape made its way into worldwide news, the story of the escape of Inky the Octopus

No, Inky the Octopus is not the nickname of a crime boss or a mafia hitman. No, Inky is in fact an actual octopus.   

Inky is...or rather was...a resident of New Zealand's National Aquarium since 2014 when he was donated to the aquarium by a fisherman.   There, he lived a life of relative comfort with another octopus. Inky was entertained with toys and games and was hand fed fish three times a week. Not a bad gig for an octopus, I would reckon. 

Inky, apparently, had a different opinion on the matter. After about two years in the company of New Zealand's National Aquarium, Inky decided, "F**k this! I'm outta here!"  

So it came to past that Inky the Octopus affected his escape. 

The sequence of events that led to Inky's escape are quite astonishing to contemplate. 

1) He had to figure out how to get out of his aquarium.  Apparently he found something loose and was able to press out himself out of the top of his glass enclosure. He also did all this while no one was looking.   

2) Pulling himself along with his tentacles, Inky scooched across the floor to a drain. 

3) Squishing his body into the drain, Inky followed the drain pipe that led to the ocean and to his freedom. 

Yes, this story combines elements of Finding Nemo AND The Shawshank Redemption.  

Humans have a habit of applying human attributes to animal behavior. It's called "anthropomorphizing". You know, when someone's got a dog in the car and the dog is sitting in the passenger seat like he's people. We're thinking that the dog is thinking, "I could so totally drive this car if I had a driver's license."  

The thing is trying to apply human characteristics to Inky's escape escapade is very far removed from reality. Of all the mysterious creatures of the sea, the octopus is arguably one of the most mysterious.  For example, most of an octopus's brain is not located in the head but is wrapped around the esophagus.  Octopus researcher Jennifer Mather explains, neural tissue also spreads throughout their eight arms, with a ganglion controlling every sucker which allows them to perform thousands of independent gripping motions.

Or as Sy Montgomery wrote in her book, Soul of an Octopus, an octopus is a very curious creature. They explore and interrogate their world with their arms, which in the case of the octopus, means with their brains—a profoundly alien sensory apparatus. 

Isn't weird to know what we're sharing a planet not just with creatures that might think like us but that think in no way like we do. It's mind blowing to know that in many ways, human beings are already sharing this planet with alien life.  

Unless the octopuses were here first. Then that would make us the aliens. 

Yep, mind blown.  

Here are sources for today's post: 
And for an earlier post on this blog about our possible once and future cephlapod overlords, click here: The Octopus That Ate Greensboro.   

Another new post is coming up tomorrow. Until then, remember to be good to one another.   

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