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Jennifer Mather, What is in an octopus's mind?

Abstract

Cephalopods split away from the phylogenetic tree about half a billion years ago, and octopus evolution has been accelerated by an extremely low survival rate. This helps explain why this unusual animal presents qualities found in no other. It has a radially organized nervous system with a processing centre for each of its eight tentacles. Yet, although this might suggest that each tentacle has its own centre of consciousness, it remains just one animal, with one mouth to feed, and one life to lose, and it behaves as if it is centrally controlled. Its capacity for a range of intelligent and often cognitive behaviour suggests that it must have its own version of sentience.

Author Biography

Ila France Porcher is an ethologist who began writing books about the behaviour and intelligence of sharks when the population of several hundreds she had been studying, through underwater observation, was massacred for shark fin soup. She is the author of The Shark Sessions, The True Nature of Sharks, and Merlin: The Mind of a Sea Turtle. Website



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