O is for Octopus
Observant readers of this blog might have noticed that I like octopuses (octopodes? octopi?). There’s even one on the banner. I’ve just cast on a small, tentacled bag which represents either an octopus or a generic tentacled horror which is inspired by them. The truth is, I’ve really loved cephalopods since I performed a squid dissection in a college zoology class and saw the neural cluster which surrounds its esophagus. Its brains surround its throat, how cool is that?
This is probably at the heart of it all. The octopus (and possibly the squid, though that’s harder to show) are as close to an alien intelligence as we’re likely to encounter without leaving the Earth. There are other animals which are about as intelligent – ‘greater’ primates, cetaceans, elephants, pigs, crows/ravens and parrots are of a similar level. Notice what all the others have in common? All the rest are vertebrates. Even the birds are much more closely related to us, evolutionarily speaking.You may have heard many discussions of octopus intelligence. If not, just hop over to the Cephalopod page and read up a bit. Always remember that these creatures only live for a few years. Imagine what they could become if they lived as long as we do.
OK, so they’re cool, they’re smart, they’re also really, really pretty and graceful, in an alien, slightly creepy sort of way. Clearly they’ve been involved in Japanese erotic art for centuries. I decided not to run the images here, but look for the “Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife” for a famous example, or search for tentacles in anime…
What’s not to love?