Friday Squid Blogging: Cephalopod Consciousness
“Three Arguments for the Consciousness of Cephalopods.”
“Three Arguments for the Consciousness of Cephalopods.”
Davi Ottenheimer • September 10, 2010 9:28 PM
I would add sense of humor to the list; that’s why I stopped ordering them from the menu
“In one instance, an octopus given a slightly spoiled shrimp stuffed it down the drain while maintaining eye contact with its keeper”
“We knew that he was bored as the aquarium is closed for winter, and at two feet, seven inches Otto had discovered he was big enough to swing onto the edge of his tank and shoot out the 2000 Watt spot light above him with a carefully directed jet of water”
bad Jim • September 11, 2010 1:29 AM
There was a recent TV program showing cuttlefish solving puzzles as quickly as at least some mammals. You can’t look at them without recognizing their consciousness, and I’d grant conscious status to any animal that demonstrates memory.
After that I gave up calamari, but I was never that fond of it to begin with.
Gourmet • September 12, 2010 3:03 AM
Probably you’ve never had squid that was correctly cooked, bad Jim. A lot of cooks overcook them, which makes them tough and rubbery. Properly done, they are tender. Try them again at a different restaurant.
Clive Robinson • September 12, 2010 5:43 AM
Various cephalopods are supposed to be as intelligent as household cats.
Personaly from what I’ve heard and seen about their behaviour in captivity I would rate them more so.
Unlike cats which tend to be just efficient predators in cute fur, cephalopods can solve significant problems and use tools. Which puts them up with the likes of orangutans.
Dissection of the likes of the Humboldt squid have shown the “capacity” of their nervous systems to be orders of magnitude above that of primates. For instance the diameter of nerves in the axion are about a thousand times that of a human and can be considerable in length.
Their eyes are reckoned to be over ten times more sensitive than humans as well as having a significantly broader spectral response. Interestingly the eyes are very similar to that of primates, although squid invertibrate rhodopsin photoreceptor is more like vertibrate melanopsin than vertibrate rhodopsin. Human melanopsin is becoming a hot research topic due to the way it acts upon our biological clock, and thus may help with a number of stress related diseases such as chronic depression. Chronic depression is now estimated to effect as many as one in three people in the first world and be responsable for a significant percentage of unnatural (suicide etc) deaths in those below 40 and likewise untimely (early) deaths in those over 40.
There is an open debate at the moment about squid communication via changing pigment patterns etc. Recently it has been discovered that the nervous system of the squid enables changes to occur an order of magnitude faster than can be seen with human eyes and this has opened the debate on the “channel capacity” of the squids eyes / brain.
From the scientists perspective squid have one advantage in that the restrictions on research for “ethical reasons” are much less than for other research subjects such as “cute furry vertibrates”. Part of this is that squid do not appear to experiance pain (atleast in a way we understand), although a number of researchers out in the field seem convinced they definatly suffer distress from observing the “red devils” when hauled on deck.
That being said Mexican fishermen pull up something like 110 million Kgs of Humboldt from the Sea of Cortez each year. This is mainly for the Asian food markets where “squid wings” are seen as a more sustainable alternative to other aquatic foods some of which are in serious decline from over fishing. One reason for this is the highly adaptable squid are filling niches left by the significant loss of vertibrate fish stocks, which possibly means that some vertibrate fish types will not be able to recover and will become extinct. Thus we should start eating more of them not less.
mcb • September 13, 2010 2:54 PM
@ bad Jim
“You can’t look at them without recognizing their consciousness, and I’d grant conscious status to any animal that demonstrates memory.”
While this can devolve into a semantic argument, I wonder if there is a less likely genus for us vertebrate mammals to anthropomorphize? By a very basic definition cephalopods are certainly conscious in that they interact with their environment. I suppose the real question is whether squids, octopi, and cuttlefish are self conscious, self aware. Do they recognize themselves in the mirror? Are they aware of their mortality? Are they bored with our crude tests? Are they disappointed with us? Are they biding their time?
No One • September 13, 2010 3:58 PM
If it weren’t for their short life spans this world would have been taken over by the cephalopods long ago.
I wonder if there are any selective breeding programs going on to make a smarter squid?
squidink • September 14, 2010 3:01 AM
Stores in Japan should keep squid in tanks on their counters. The squid should be specially trained so that on a signal from the store attendant the squid would squirt ink at an assailant/thief.
mcb • September 14, 2010 9:37 AM
@ No One and squidink
If such an ill-considered cephalopod selective breeding and GM program was dangerously sophisticated you could replace the clerk as well.
Morgan • September 30, 2010 2:38 AM
Now if only someone could work out a way to do sign-language with some of these super smart squid and Cephalopods we might be able to query them on some deep ocean secrets, and train them to fix under sea cabling.
Thessyemupe • March 24, 2011 6:17 AM
Take a closer look at the top layer (the one with the mask).
WoorryOrdew • April 7, 2011 8:27 AM
The eyes are the first place to start.
maigmaSob • May 13, 2011 11:52 AM
Acne skin care creams online. Retin-A is used once per day, or once every other day, usually at bedtime. The skin should first be washed with a mild cleanser.
drincaddy • June 14, 2011 4:20 AM
Secret Service intelligence reveals that Le Chiffre is planning to raise money in a high-stakes poker game in Montenegro at Le Casino Royale.
Andy • July 5, 2011 2:34 AM
And that is why I would love to press a button if it would vaporize the whole world, alas constranted moes the petty
Subscribe to comments on this entry
Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.
Leave a comment