Photo Credit: maxcdc
The highly intelligent octopus has been observed carrying a coconut shell in what researchers claim is the first recorded example of tool use in invertebrates. There is a growing record of tool use in animals and birds, from musical “instruments” made by orangutans to sponges used by dolphins to dislodge prey from sand.
Now octopuses have been filmed picking up coconut halves from the seabed to use as hiding places when they feel threatened. Footage that shows this eight-limbed creature walking along the ocean floor carrying two halves of a broken coconut shell beneath his arms has been lighting the Internet on fire recently. A researcher that witnessed it firsthand, says he almost drowned he laughed so hard when he saw it the first time.
Watch and see for yourself here:
Julian Finn, from the Victoria Museum in Australia, who was among the first scientists to see this firsthand, said he was especially impressed by what he observed, but it also nearly killed him. The researcher told the BBC, “I almost drowned laughing when I saw this the first time. I could tell it was going to do something, but I didn’t expect this — I didn’t expect it would pick up the shell and run away with it.”
Finn, and other experts say, the behavior is the first evidence of tool use by an octopus, putting them in a league with a small number of other animals known to do the same. Apparently octopus, like this one, and smart enough to contemplate potential dangers and bring along coconut shells to use as a protective shelter when exploring areas without adequate places to hide.
Definitely smarter than some humans, wouldn’t you say?