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consider the cephalopods! yer octopusses (i spy an octopii), squid and sundry cuttlefish… such astonsishing, amazing, beautiful creatures!
a brouhaha of pondering aloud to Finn whilst strolling up the cliffs in the sunshine (a tolerant lad), else further musing, when cooking a huge cauldron of dahl at 7:00 this morning
of course i am basing all speculation on having met a very small one once, for a few brief moments, whilst snorkling off the tropical coast of the americas decades ago…
we gave each other a beaky eye… before she skulked off to hang out neath a rock… and i cheerfully varmoosed for the surface, lungs long forgotten about oxygen… as an aside, never forget to gob in your mask folks
also the extraordinary footage of one on the blue planet a few months back… and an exhumed LRB article from last summer…
a few things:
‘They are sophisticated problem solvers, they learn and can use tools; and they show a capacity for mimicry, deception and, some think, humour’. wow
they communicate by changing colour!
they’re sort of molluscs, giant baggy, be-tentacled, shell less snails!
half of their neurons (brain stuff!) are in their tentacles
they are utterly nothing like us! our closest common ancestor was a blind spineless worm 600 million years ago…
and they have eyes
what this means, is that 2 of lifes most preposterous miracles: consciousness and the eye, evolved completely independentally TWICE on the same planet, genuinely gobsmacked
what might be some of the usual drivers for intelligence/consciousness?… dunno… omniverous behaviour to exploit and flourish in an environment of opportunity and complexity?
social behaviour… dolphins, wolves, us… all have rich social interactions…
longevity, takes time to learn stuff…
culture, most of our much vaunted knowledge is what somebody extraordinarily bright worked out and taught to other folk
yet octopusses don’t talk to each other, completely anti social with their own species… billy no mates… and they live less than 4 years
proper gnarly! truly bizarre and beautiful beasts! …oops, all this eight limbed enthusiasm, on tentacle tenterhooks, yeah, yeah best get back on with work

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