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octos intelagent arms!!!

nini

Wonderpus
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: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?
 

monty

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nini said:
: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?

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.)
 
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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?
 

monty

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chrono_war01 said:
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?

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.
 

Neogonodactylus

Haliphron Atlanticus
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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
 

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