snopes.com Post new topic  Post a reply
search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hello snopes.com » Urban Legends » Critter Country » Squid are as smart as dogs?

 - UBBFriend: Email this page to someone!    
Author Topic: Squid are as smart as dogs?
snopes
Return! Return! Return!


Icon 204 posted      Profile for snopes   Author's Homepage   E-mail snopes       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Comment: I have been unabel to locate any information confirming or
denying this, but I have heard that squid (calamari) have the same
intelligence level of the average dog. Is this a rumor?

Posts: 36029 | From: Admin | Registered: Feb 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Electrotiger
Deck the Malls


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Electrotiger   E-mail Electrotiger   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I'm always curious if people actually know what they're asking when they say, "animal x is as smart as *insert domestic animal here*."

Is this OPer asking if squid can fetch, or chase their tails, or beg for food, or bark at the mailman?

Is a measure of animal intelligence by default equal to the amount of similarities of behavioral aspects of a canine? I've known some pretty bone-dumb dogs.

Animals are as smart as they need to be. Examples of animals exhibiting reasoning above and beyond the norm of their own species can be fairly common, if you look at enough samples.

That being said, I've always heard that cuttlefish and octopi show some pretty impressive cognitive reasoning skills. Dunno about squid.

--------------------
Mr. Sagan did not go too fars, If you just took the time to scan its,
You'd count billions and billions of stars, And billions and billions of planets.

Posts: 332 | From: Kansas City, MO | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Joe Bentley
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Joe Bentley   Author's Homepage   E-mail Joe Bentley   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Not squid, but the Pacific Giant Octopus's intelligence is well documented.

quote:
Octopuses are highly intelligent, probably the most intelligent of the invertebrates. Maze and problem-solving experiments show that they have both short- and long-term memory, although their short lifespans limit the amount they can ultimately learn.

An octopus has a highly complex nervous system, only part of which is localized in its brain. Two-thirds of an octopus's neurons are found in the nerve cords of its arms, which have a remarkable amount of autonomy. Octopus arms show a wide variety of complex reflex actions arising on at least three different levels of the nervous system.

In laboratory experiments, octopuses can be readily trained to distinguish between different shapes and patterns. They are able to open jars after learning from observation [1]. Octopuses have also been engaged in what may be 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 ships and opened holds to eat crabs.

And a german zoo has observed one of their octipi opening jars to reach shrimp stuck inside. link

--------------------
"Existence has no pattern save what we imagine after staring at it for too long." - Rorschach, The Watchmen

Posts: 8929 | From: Norfolk, Virginia | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
steve s
Almond Joy to the World


Icon 1 posted      Profile for steve s     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Joe Bentley:
And a german zoo has observed one of their octipi opening jars to reach shrimp stuck inside.

I saw this on Scientific American Frontiers with Alan Alda. Many of them managed to figure it out on their own. The ones that couldn't were given the opportunity to watch the ones that could, and learned to do it for themselves. It was pretty interesting.

I found this transcript at the following site...http://www.pbs.org/saf/transcripts/transcript604.htm#5(click the Spineless But Smart link)

quote:
ALAN ALDA (NARRATION) Graziano Fiorito takes his subjects back to the zoological station in Naples, Europe's oldest marine biology laboratory. As an invertebrate, the octopus may be spineless but it is a skilled hunter. Lurking behind a rock, this one is stalking a hermit crab. Octopuses live alone, so it's thought that their hunting skills are partly pre-programmed in their genes and partly self-taught from experience. The idea that a creature as lowly as an octopus might also learn as we do, by watching others, would be heresy to most scientists. But that's just what Fiorito believes he's seen. Here's the challenge he sets for the octopuses he buys from the market - a glass jar containing a crab, and sealed tightly with a plug. Some octopuses, perhaps because they've opened a lot of shells for their dinner, open the jar on their first try. Others, like this one, can be given the jar time and time again without getting inside. I joined Fiorito for the key experiment. The octopus on the right is the one that can open the jar. The one on the left can't.

ALAN ALDA You already gave him a jar and he couldn't do it?

GRAZIANO FIORITO No. Half the population of animals that come from the sea are able to do it and the other half they are unable to do it. So it depends let's say from the individual's experience. There are some octopus that are more skilled than other ones.

ALAN ALDA (NARRATION) The unskilled animal will be given a chance to watch how it's done.

ALAN ALDA So now the octopus over here in this tank is going to watch this one open the jar.

GRAZIANO FIORITO That's right.

ALAN ALDA (NARRATION) Even knowing how to do it didn't help me.

ALAN ALDA I need suction cups on my fingers here. I can't do it.

ALAN ALDA Does he see it yet do you think?

GRAZIANO FIORITO Yes.

ALAN ALDA (NARRATION) The skilled octopus sees the crab immediately and moves in. The unskilled octopus seems to be watching intently, as the skilled one explores the jar.

GRAZIANO FIORITO It's crawling now on the jar and it recognizes the plug. Now its behavior is changed - now it's carrying it right back home to be more safe from the other animal.

ALAN ALDA He doesn't want the other animal to interfere?

GRAZIANO FIORITO That's right.

ALAN ALDA (NARRATION) The performer pulls the plug and the crab is his. Meanwhile, the observer octopus is scrambling for the best view.

ALAN ALDA Do you think that this animal from observing that this time may know how to do it?

GRAZIANO FIORITO We can try.

ALAN ALDA Great, can we see?

ALAN ALDA (NARRATION) Now remember, this animal has never before been able to open the jar. What's new is that he's observed the solution.

ALAN ALDA Oh here he goes, here he goes. Look, look, look, look. Oh wow, look at him. Just went right at it.

ALAN ALDA Look, he got in, he got it open. And he was never able to do that before?

GRAZIANO FIORITO No.

ALAN ALDA This is unbelievable.

ALAN ALDA (NARRATION) What Graziano Fiorito has shown for the first time is that an invertebrate can learn by observing. Social learning like this is a domain of intellect usually reserved for mammals like us. But as I learned in the fish market, you have to you know how to handle an octopus if you want it to show you its secrets.

STeve S.
Posts: 194 | From: St. Louis | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Rychan
The Red and the Green Stamps


Icon 1 posted            Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I'll believe it when I see blind scuba divers with seeing-eye squid.
IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Sub-Contractor
The Red and the Green Stamps


Icon 23 posted            Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Problem is, the squid will lead them on alright, straight to dinner. [Eek!]
IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
The (Puntrue) Percula
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


Icon 1 posted      Profile for The (Puntrue) Percula   E-mail The (Puntrue) Percula   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Not difficult to believe, considering most Cephalopods display a decent amount of intelligence. I once had a dwarf Octopus (bimaculatus) that figured out she had to ring a bell hung over her tank to get a meal. Took her 2 weeks to learn. Then she rang it constantly for 3 hours, so I took it out. She even rang it when she was eating the first meal she rang for.

Untrue "There are benefits to having 8 arms" Percula

Posts: 38 | From: Huntington Station, NY | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Mau
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Mau   Author's Homepage   E-mail Mau   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by The (Untrue) Percula:
Not difficult to believe, considering most Cephalopods display a decent amount of intelligence. I once had a dwarf Octopus (bimaculatus) that figured out she had to ring a bell hung over her tank to get a meal. Took her 2 weeks to learn. Then she rang it constantly for 3 hours, so I took it out. She even rang it when she was eating the first meal she rang for.

Untrue "There are benefits to having 8 arms" Percula

Hey if I pull on this they'll feed me more!
[lol]

Posts: 37 | From: WA | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Hug a Revolutionary
The Red and the Green Stamps


Icon 07 posted            Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by The (Untrue) Percula:
Not difficult to believe, considering most Cephalopods display a decent amount of intelligence. I once had a dwarf Octopus (bimaculatus) that figured out she had to ring a bell hung over her tank to get a meal. Took her 2 weeks to learn. Then she rang it constantly for 3 hours, so I took it out. She even rang it when she was eating the first meal she rang for.

Untrue "There are benefits to having 8 arms" Percula

...How do you know he knew that ringing the bell brought food? He could have just been ringing the bell...?
IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Ganzfeld
Let There Be PCs on Earth


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Ganzfeld     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Electrotiger:
I'm always curious if people actually know what they're asking when they say, "animal x is as smart as *insert domestic animal here*."

Good point and an important one to keep in mind whenever talking about these things. Also, even careful observers have been tricked into thinking certain actions showed intelligence of one kind when they actually showed "intelligence" of another kind. (Search for "Clever Hans" if you've never heard his horse tale.)

However, there is a wide variety evidence for learning and remembering in a few species of octopus and squid (over 80 years of evidence, both in the sea and in the tank). Since other species have similarly developed brains, some have assumed that they all have these abilities. One might ask why animals that tend to be solitary (in the case of octopuses) and have relatively short life spans would be so good at learning on their own and even from each other. No one knows yet. So general comparisons to vertebrate animals, such as birds and dogs, may not apply. The consensus seems to be that squids, octopuses, and cuttlefish all have excellent learning abilities but no comparisons can be made to vertebrates yet.

At the fundamental level, squid nervous systems (i.e. their brains) function exactly the same as in vertebrates. In fact, studies of squid nerves were essential in understanding how our own nervous systems work. So, until someone teaches a dog to open a jar, the burden of proof is on Fido! (I'm kidding, of course.)

(Now should I feel guilty for fishing for them and eating them? But they are so good...)

Reference: Hanlon, Messenger: Cephalopod Behavior, Cambridge (1996)

Posts: 4922 | From: Kyoto, Japan | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Major D. Saster
The First USA Noel


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Major D. Saster         Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I remember an old Jacques Cousteau film that proved how smart squids are... but I'd rather compare them with cats, as they are very curious. This is how mediterranean fishers catch them : you simply leave empty jars on the sea bottom, and the squid won't resist the temptation of having a look inside. You can say curiosity killed the squid [Wink]

On the other hand, I personnaly know several extremely stupid dogs.

--------------------
Desperate, but not serious.

Posts: 689 | From: Confoederatio Helvetica | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Brad from Georgia
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Brad from Georgia   Author's Homepage   E-mail Brad from Georgia   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
You know, I think that squid are very intelligent. But you wouldn't believe the looks people give me when I take my little Cthulhu out for walkies.

--------------------
"No hard feelin's and HOPpy New Year!"--Walt Kelly
Hear what you're missing: ARTC podcasts! http://artcpodcast.org/

Posts: 7581 | From: Gainesville, Georgia | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Ganzfeld
Let There Be PCs on Earth


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Ganzfeld     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
This episode of the SETI Institute's Are We Alone? (what a terrific science show this is!) has biologist and curator at the Seatle Aquarium Roland Anderson on the show to talk about octopus "personalities". About intelligence, he says:
quote:

It is kind of unusual to find an antisocial animal like the octopus that is fairly intelligent. And it's only just fairly intelligent: It can learn simple mazes, it can unscrew a jar to get food, it can be ... trained to go to a target to find food but it really can't do much more.

So you can forget about getting an octopus to fetch your slippers... unless you want your new pet to eat your slippers.
Posts: 4922 | From: Kyoto, Japan | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Stoneage Dinosaur
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Stoneage Dinosaur   E-mail Stoneage Dinosaur   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
A bit late, but I've just found this site:

squids in science fiction

--------------------
"You learn something new every day if you're not careful" - Wilf Lunn

Posts: 893 | From: Durham City, England | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.

Instant Graemlins
   


Post new topic  Post a reply Close topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Urban Legends Reference Pages

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2