Friday, February 10, 2012

Octopus: The Ocean's Intelligent Invertebrate

Written by: Jennifer A. Mather, Roland C. Anderson, and James B. Wood

First line: Octopuses are amazing animals.

Why you should read this book: Indeed, octopodes (not octopi, we learn) are amazing, and while much evidence of octopus intelligence is anecdotal, this book brings together peer-reviewed, experiment based evidence of the intellectual capacity of this short-lived, long-armed cephalopod, along with detailed information about the animal's physiology, neurology, hunting and mating behaviors, and other little-known data about these fascinating creatures. The three co-authors have spent decades studying octopuses (the preferred plural) in the ocean, the aquarium, and the lab, and have brought together the results of their findings: that they are indeed highly intelligent, easily adaptable problem-solvers with individual personalities and preferences. The book includes a lovely selection of color plates depicting various species engaged in a variety of behaviors, along with an appendix discussing how best to keep an octopus alive and healthy in captivity.

Why you shouldn't read this book: Reviewing evidence of animal intelligence might clash with your diet or your religious beliefs.

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