Science, Tech & Environment

How smart is too smart to eat?


Photo: Robert Schroeder on Flickr Creative Commons.

Some people say they will not eat anything with a face, but what about anything with an intelligent brain?

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Octopus, it turns out, are quite smart. In fact, they are comparable to dogs, says Katy Perkins, an octopus specialist with Sea Life Aquariums in England. Perkins says the marine animals show comprehension, memory and the ability to learn.

"We actually give them dog toys to solve to get their food rewards," she says.

Visitors to the over 40 Sea Life centers in Europe and the United States are being asked to sign pledges to stop eating octopus.

"As more research goes on, the more we find out about these creatures," Perkins says. "We've been quite self-centered for quite a while."

One amazing ability is that octopus can camouflage themselves by seeing their surroundings and changing their color and skin texture to match -- a feat that stunned marine biologist Roger Hanlon of the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts in this video from public radio show Science Friday.