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The staff of Santa Monica’s Pier Aquarium was surprised early last week when they arrived at work to discover one of their residents had flooded the facility:

They blame the soaking they discovered Tuesday morning on the aquarium’s resident two-spotted octopus, a tiny female known for being curious and gregarious with visitors. The octopus apparently tugged on a valve and that allowed hundreds of gallons of water to overflow its tank.

Octopuses are curious, intelligent creatures that show evidence of short and long-term memory in maze and problem-solving experiments:

In laboratory experiments, octopuses can be readily trained to distinguish between different shapes and patterns. They have been reported to practice observational learning, although the validity of these findings is widely contested on a number of grounds. Octopuses have also been observed in what some have described as play: repeatedly releasing bottles or toys into a circular current in their aquariums and then catching them. Octopuses often break out of their aquariums and sometimes into others in search of food. They have even boarded fishing boats and opened holds to eat crabs.

In our desperate economic times, such intelligence, talent and drive cannot go wasted. 

Why not train the Santa Monica octopus to run a major American bank?

Consider the possibilities: Read the rest of this entry »