octos intelagent arms!!!

Discussion in 'The Octopus' Den' started by nini, Jul 8, 2005.

  1. nini

    nini Wonderpus Registered

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2005
    Messages:
    225
    Likes Received:
    0
    :welcome: this is so wierd , but i was reading that octos have brainy arms,that have a mind of there own, and free will!!!
    sorry, as much as most of u already know about octos, this probably does not surprise any 1,first time i heard about it, sounds cool, is this true?
     
  2. cthulhu77

    cthulhu77 Titanites Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2003
    Messages:
    6,642
    Likes Received:
    2
    Ok...this is almost the "most" !!!! :lol:
     
  3. monty

    monty Colossal Squid Staff Member Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2004
    Messages:
    4,887
    Likes Received:
    11
    Yes, cephalopods generally have their intelligence a lot more "spread out" than other smart animals. There have been some (mean) studies of how much an octo arm can do on its own, if separated from the animal, and they have some grasping and lifting behaviors, and the suckers each have their own ganglion, like a little brain, that makes simple decisions about what is good to grab onto or push away.

    There were some studies that show that any learning happens in the brain in the head, though, so you can't teach a severed arm anything new. However, some of the behavior is decided out at the arm, and so the learning center doesn't have access to it. In particular, the octo can learn to react differently to rough and smooth things, because the arm sends that info back to the brain, but it can't learn to distinguish light and heavy, because the arm decides how much force to use to lift the object without telling the brain what it decided, so the "learning center" doesn't get a report from the arm as to how heavy the thing it picked up was. (That's the theory, anyway-- there may be other interpretations).

    One of the things that fascinates me most about cephalopods is that they are really the only (unless you count the smartest insects as intelligent) intelligent animals that evolved completely independently from vertebrates like us, so if we want to learn about the possible different ways nervous systems might be, studying cephs is a great idea, since they had a completely independent path to solving the same "design" problems. It's frequently pointed out that octo eyes make more sense than human ones-- ours are "inside-out" in that light has to pass through some nerve cells before it gets to the sensors on the retina, while octos have the retinas on the outside where the light goes directly.

    I posted a long rambling bit about this last year, tho I didn't mention the arms specifically:

    http://www.tonmo.com/community/index.php?threads/2979/#post-46932

    I found the octo section of my "comparative nervous systems" class one of the more fascinating topics (although the whole class was good-- the prof, John Allman published a book on the topic, too, although I don't remember how much it has on ceph brains.)
     
  4. chrono_war01

    chrono_war01 Colossal Squid Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2004
    Messages:
    2,572
    Likes Received:
    3
    so, you're telling me that octos don't know the differnece between 1 gram and 1 ton?

    So, according to your post, if I 'switch' brains with a octo, then the octo can gain input on heavy and light, is that correct?
     
  5. monty

    monty Colossal Squid Staff Member Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2004
    Messages:
    4,887
    Likes Received:
    11
    I suspect the octo will figure out the difference between "too heavy to lift" and "liftable," since they clearly get full-body feedback on that. I think the experiment was with cylinders that were small enough that the octo could lift both without much trouble, but one had a weight in it.

    It's hard to know what "switch brains with an octo" means, so I'm not sure how to answer the question-- humans are wired to get proprioceptive inputs about weight from our limbs, while the octopus seems not to get as much in that area, so it's not clear that if you just "unplugged" the octo brain and your brain that they would have similar "plugs" to re-attatch backwards, as appealing as it might be from a "mad scientist" standpoint. I suppose my best guess is that it wouldn't help to swap in your brain, because the arm doesn't tell whatever brain it's connected to how heavy the thing it's lifting is.

    Actually, in mammals, a lot of the activity of motor control happens in the spinal cord rather than the brain, too... perhaps the localized arm control in the octo can be thought of as providing a similar function, since octos don't have spines at all. For example, when the doctor taps your knee checking reflexes, that reflex happens in your spine, without your brain having any say in the matter. In cats, and I believe humans as well, the rhythm of walking and running is controlled in the spine, as well, although the brain can "fine tune" it.
     
  6. chrono_war01

    chrono_war01 Colossal Squid Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2004
    Messages:
    2,572
    Likes Received:
    3
    oh, thanks.
     
  7. nini

    nini Wonderpus Registered

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2005
    Messages:
    225
    Likes Received:
    0
    kl facts!!!
    some day i would like 2 become a merine biologest
     
  8. chrono_war01

    chrono_war01 Colossal Squid Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2004
    Messages:
    2,572
    Likes Received:
    3
    how old are you, nini?
     
  9. Colin

    Colin Colossal Squid Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2002
    Messages:
    3,986
    Likes Received:
    6
    looking for a date Chrono?

    :wink:
     
  10. Neogonodactylus

    Neogonodactylus Haliphron Atlanticus Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Messages:
    657
    Likes Received:
    137
    Octopus are the second most intelligent invertebrate

    Monty,

    Some stomatopod species can perform most of the "learning " tasks that O. vulgarus can, From having worked on the behavior of both for many years, I certainly would not put octopus on the top step. If you and in senory capabilities, the stomatopods are way out front.

    Roy
     
  11. monty

    monty Colossal Squid Staff Member Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2004
    Messages:
    4,887
    Likes Received:
    11
    Ok, I'll add stomatopods to my list of intelligent inverts. I guess I had bought into the popular belief that crustaceans are not too bright. Certainly, I've never heard the lobster researchers touting how complex their behaviors and learning systems are...

    What kinds of complex behaviors and/or cognitive abilities do they exhibit?

    I found your UCB webpage, but it's pretty thin in the behavior section...

    Anyway, I didn't mean to slight the stomatopods; if they are mammal-level smart, then they provide another data point for convergent evolution of intelligence, so I'm quite happy to hear about it!
     
  12. nini

    nini Wonderpus Registered

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2005
    Messages:
    225
    Likes Received:
    0
    i just turned 13
    nini
     
  13. Neogonodactylus

    Neogonodactylus Haliphron Atlanticus Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Messages:
    657
    Likes Received:
    137
    Aside from habitat matiching, there are few learning paradymes that Octopus vulgarus can perform well in that stomatopods can't. The one exception is observational learning'. I have tried repeatedly to replicate that work with stomatopods and I can't. They quickly learn the color discrimination (which the octopus can't - only brightness), but they don't learn to perform based on watching another animal. On the other hand, I can't replicated the octopus observational learning study either.

    Our work on individual recognition shows that a stomatopod can identify and remember another individual for at least a month. I know of no data that show that octopus can identify individuals, let alone remember them for a long period of time.

    Stomatopods have not been shown to unscrew a jar to get food (as octopus are reported to do), but then octopus have not been shown to smash a glass plate to get to food based on color or polarization cues. Different animals have different motor skills.

    Roy
     
  14. chrono_war01

    chrono_war01 Colossal Squid Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2004
    Messages:
    2,572
    Likes Received:
    3
    cool, I'm 14.

    And back to stomapods, hm....never mess with a lobster, might be the last thing you do,
     
  15. chalcosoma

    chalcosoma O. bimaculoides Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2005
    Messages:
    61
    Likes Received:
    0
    Stomatopod Link and the Jumping Spider Portia

    Neat film of a stomatopod fluorescing and killing a fish:

    http://www.nightsea.com/mantis.htm


    Article on Stomatopod Fluorescent signalling and communication:
    http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2003/11/14_shrimp.shtml

    Maybe they have complex communication/social structure?

    I would add the jumping spider Portia to the list: It has a very impressive repertoire of seemingly intelligent behavior. Portia feeds on other jumping spiders and web spiders using "Agressive Mimicry". The former it tricks by mimicking their mating "drumming" I think, while the latter it captures by a number of web-strumming techniques that simulate wind, struggling insects, and falling debris. It Portia seems to "plan", and "make decisions".

    here's some articles:

    http://inside.binghamton.edu/SeptemberOctober/23Oct97/spider.html

    http://www.colostate.edu/Depts/Entomology/courses/en507/papers_2001/odenbeck.htm

    http://www.pbs.org/teachersource/scienceline/archives/apr99/apr99.shtm

    And a pic: http://www.amonline.net.au/factsheets/images/portia.jpg

    OK I think that's too much already!
     
  16. chrono_war01

    chrono_war01 Colossal Squid Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2004
    Messages:
    2,572
    Likes Received:
    3
    nope, it's never too much on TONMO.com! :grin:
     
  17. monty

    monty Colossal Squid Staff Member Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2004
    Messages:
    4,887
    Likes Received:
    11
    stomatopods and jumping spiders

    Thanks for the references on other forms of intelligence in inverts-- certainly quite interesting.

    One thing that I find particularly interesting about octos is that, in addition to complex emergent behavior, they seem to have quite advanced learning behavior and cognitive problem solving abilities compared with most inverts, the "learning by example" study being one example of that. It sounds like stomatopods (where does that name come from, anyway-- stomach-foot??) exhibit some of that.

    A distinction I tend to make is that a lot of inverts have evolved very complex specialized behaviors, some of which require complicated behaviors, but what I find intriguing about octopuses is that as individuals, they can learn complex cotextual behaviors and make intelligent decisions. Although it's possible that the jumping spiders can do that too, it sounds possible that they evolved the specific abilities to mimic other species as a hard-wired instincual behavior, or at least a predisposition for mimicing other jumping spider types. At least, I can imagine very specific subsets of learned behaviors that they can exhibit without having generalized cognitive and learning abilities.

    Another example I've heard is that bees do some amazing things, particularly the behavior that when they find some good flowers, they come back and do a "dance" that communicates the directions to navigate to those flowers to the other bees. That's a really neat thing, that clearly requires some complicated cognitive processing, but I see it as distinct from tasks that require generalized cognitive abilities... I would imagine that the bees have developed some specialized neuroanatomy to do this particular task well, but that doesn't mean, say, that they could use that to learn unrelated tasks. It seems like octopus experiments have shown that they can learn things that require some amount of abstraction or conceptualization as well as longer-term learning, which are the bases for things that make intelligent vertebrates "smart." I'm not ruling out that stomatopods and jumping spiders have this, I just don't know enough about experiments on them to be 100% convinced yet (although I'm writing this before I've looked at all the links above, so maybe I'll be convinced soon!)-- if they do, I'm pleased that people are studying them for the same reasons I am about cephalopods-- understanding the diversity of intelligent behavior in evolutionarily disparate organisms is, in my mind, the best way to learn about the span of possible ways to implement intelligence, whereas studying only vertebrates' intelligence risks taking "evolutionary baggage" as evidence that "this is the only way to get to these behaviors."

    (studying the communication modes in more communal cephalopods like cuttles and sepioteuthis is, of course, interesting as well, as is the camoflauge in cuttles, all of which are also interesting applications of intelligence, but which may be more of the type of evolved specialized behavior I mentioned, or not. I'm certainly all for studying these, and other interesting animal behavior; I just have a particular interest in the "generalized rather that specialized" cognitive functions)
     
  18. Fujisawas Sake

    Fujisawas Sake Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Supporter Registered

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    1,169
    Likes Received:
    2
    Monty,

    In The Growth of Biological Thought Dr. Ernst Mayr makes an interesting point of Aristotle's idea of Scala Naturae , or the typical evolutionary cladogram that most zoology textbooks still try to sell us as the "natural order" of life. Its like sponges to cniarians, cniarians to something else, etc.. I understand why that has been the way things were taught in the past, but unfortunately that is the way they are still being taught to this day.

    Though it is a sound scientific theory, evolution is still very hard to understand given the many factors, both external and internal, that have an influence on its progression. We, as a species, have always believed that evolution was a direct-line progression; that all species wanted to be 'us'. It is the ultimate in human vertebrate phallus-waving if you ask me.

    Intelligence is hard to measure by most means. Often you will hear the complaint that IQ tests are culturally biased. I would argue that most intelligence tests are Homo-biased, made for us and our own perception of intellect. Also, you made an excellent point about the idea of sensation vs. perception; octopus may not percieve mass like we do, but they may have an altogether different way of doing so.

    Monty, have you ever heard of the theory that large Jurassic sauropods like Diplodicus used a "relay" of ganglion in their spines to regulate back leg function? I find that interesting, considering dinosaurian evolution in relation to the rest of the Reptilia.

    Just my philosophical :twocents:,

    Peace and sushi forver,

    John
     
  19. monty

    monty Colossal Squid Staff Member Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2004
    Messages:
    4,887
    Likes Received:
    11
    Yeah, it has not escaped my attention that things in that cladogram are getting re-worked every time someone makes a new genetic discovery like homeobox genes or blood typing or whatever. We live in primitive times, as far as real understanding of biology goes.

    There was a NY Times article a few weeks ago saying that genetically, cniderians are not as far from us as has generally been thought; most likely they and we descended from some common worm-like thing, rather than radiates having arisen much earlier as had been thought. I haven't read the real article yet, though; just the pop-science version.

    Unfortunately, it's gone into "pay-to-read archive mode" but here's the URL for the first paragraph:

    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=FB081EF6395F0C728EDDAF0894DD404482

    this might work better:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/21/s...17449-ilpRkh5UK+GOirHYNqV5sQ&pagewanted=print

    bonus points for using "phallus-waving" in an intellectual acticle. Yeah, I completely agree with you; I'm interested in "hypothetical biology" quite a bit, and I'm always astounded at how human-centric and earth-centric some of our views are-- not that it's inappropriate, because that's what we have to study, but nevertheless, if one imagines that life arose in some other solar system, I expect by luck of the draw it could easily be quite different than ours (note that I distinguish life arising separately from, say, travelling frozen on meteorites and such).

    Right, which is why I find it so interesting to look at similarities and differences among disparate organisms. But it's sometimes hard to differentiate between cognitive intelligence like learning or problem solving and evolved-but-hardwired "clever" behavior, where it just happened that some inherited mechanism was a big win for survival, and became instinctual, but had no "learning." Of course, one could make the definition of "learning" broad enough to include genetic racial memory, I suppose, too.

    I think I've heard a "simplified for pop culture" version of that theory, but I don't know the details or why that's thought; I assume it's more because there's a suspcious cranium-like cavity in the posterior spine somewhere, since I assume we don't know this from behavioral or soft-tissue studies...
     
  20. nini

    nini Wonderpus Registered

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2005
    Messages:
    225
    Likes Received:
    0
    thats kl
     

Share This Page