How octopuses battle each other | DIY Neuroscience, a TED series

How octopuses battle each other | DIY Neuroscience, a TED series


Translator: Joseph Geni
Reviewer: Joanna Pietrulewicz Greg Gage: The octopus is
a rather strange-looking animal that exhibits amazingly complex behaviors. They have the most impressive nervous
system in the entire invertebrate world. They have about a half a billion neurons that are distributed
throughout their body, such that two-thirds of the neurons
are actually in its legs. Now mix this in with camouflaging cells,
jet propulsion and a razor-sharp beak, and you have all the makings
of a formidable predator. And then throw in the fact
that the octopus is a solitary creature, and suddenly, we have ourselves
a real cephalopod fight. (Bell) [DIY Neuroscience] We know that almost all animals fight —
for food, for territory, for mates. The octopus is no different,
and knowing their fighting behavior could help us better understand
these fascinating creatures and how they interact. My friend Ilya has been observing
the classic fighting behavior between California two-spot octopuses. Ilya Chugunov: Most people
think that it’s “octopi,” but that’s actually incorrect. The correct plurals
are either “octopuses” or “octopodes” if you want to be very Greek about it. GG: So how do you do your experiment? IC: First, I like to set up
the chamber just so it’s ready, so I get a jug of water,
I aerate it by shaking the jug. It seems that if the water is
well-aerated, they’re a lot more active. This gives the octopuses
some room to breathe. I get the first octopus — Here, buddy. Here, pal. Put it in, set up my GoPro, put the second octopus in,
cover it up and leave it alone. (Bell ringing) Rule 1: There’s always
an aggressor. There’s always one octopus
on defense, one on offense. Usually the one that’s taking up
more space, that’s more boastful, definitely the aggressor,
most likely the winner of the fight. The loser’s pretty obvious. They get pushed around,
they curl up, hide in a corner. A lot of the time,
when there’s initial contact, if one of them is too much
on the defensive side, the second one will sort of poke at it,
grab at its tentacle and see, “Hey, do you want to fight me,
do you want to turn around? Do you want to start a wrestling match?” So it’ll just poke and run away.
Come back, poke and run away. (Bell ringing) Rule 2: Avoid eye contact. When the octopuses come
towards each other to begin the fight, they don’t actually face each other. They approach sideways. The defensive octopus
tries to face away from the attacker until it’s the critical moment
it knows there’s no way to avoid a fight. GG: Really, the one who’s waiting
to the last moment is the defensive octopus. (Bell ringing) Rule 3: Flash your colors. The aggressor in a fight will quickly
and sharply flash bright black on his arms when he’s about to initiate a fight. (Bell ringing) GG: Ooh, and already — IC: We’re seeing some action. Looks like they’ve spotted each other. GG: Right. So now he’s going to come —
He’s approaching, but not directly at him. IC: Yeah, they’re like
almost completely antiparallel. GG: And then right there — IC: Yeah. They contact,
and then their arms clash together. (String music) GG: So we’ve taken the first steps
in understanding fighting in the octopus. And you might be asking yourself:
Why does this even matter? Well, these types of curiosity-based
research questions can often lead to some unexpected
insights and discoveries. We’ve learned a lot about ourselves
from studying marine animals. Squid have taught us
about how our neurons communicate, and the horseshoe crab
has taught us about how our eyes work. So it’s not too far of a stretch to say
that some of these behaviors that we’re seeing in the California
two-spot octopus are similar to ours.

100 thoughts on “How octopuses battle each other | DIY Neuroscience, a TED series”

  1. Admit it, TED: this isn't about science or education, you just heard about some guy in his basement doing weird stuff with octopuses like making them fight and were like "Yeah. Yeah I'm gonna do a feature on that"

  2. kinda fucked up to put them in a container where they cant escape the fight. Couldn't you study octopuses fighting in the wild like all the other clips of animals fighting. And if it doesnt happen often enough in the wild to study it then is it really worth studying?

  3. If you want to know about how the human body works study it not an octopus. At least a human can consent to being a tested on, an octopus cant.

  4. Im writing a shortstory right now including alien octopodes and dragondflies. What are the chances that this guy now addressed both their special properties so I can include them in my story. Thanks

  5. This videos was useless. I thought there was going to be a climax reveal!… not. Just a cage match. I guess putting two dogs in a cage and watching them fight is a horrible human act. But not when you put two "octopuses" in a cage. All for science!

  6. The real question everyone asks, how do they really fight? I wanted to see how they get a win? Just armwrestling until someones fatigues and dies? I want to know :p. The how question is stil unanswered and is incomplete :/

  7. How is this any different to dog or chicken fighting? This isn't research. octopuses(or octopedes) are already documented fighting.

  8. When “Octopuses” fight its science that helps us learn about our selves.

    When dogs fight, it’s a crime that help us learn about prison.

    Human logic.

  9. I don't like how they justify that this research makes us learn from ourselves (by setting up animals fights)..
    If they want to see how people fight each other i think there's already enough video material en Youtube..

  10. So most of the video is describing how they 'prepare' to fight. Then nothing about HOW they fight. How is the winner decided? What if the attacker loses? Amateurs.

  11. I'd like to put those scientist in a death match to see how strong they are. No life is valuable in the name of science

  12. Sometimes (oftentimes) I am so utterly disappointed in human beings. There is so much wrong in moral terms to let these animals go through the stress and suffering just so 'perhaps we can find out something about ourselves' that I just have no idea where to begin. Fortunately there are also people who do realize this. Let's get more of them into science.

  13. I have another idea for a scientific experiment. What if we put two dogs in a cage and watch how they fight? We may even bet on them in order to fund further research. I even have another idea: We chain a bear to a pole and see how it interacts with a pack of dogs. Perhaps we can even learn something about human behavior…

  14. In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since.

    "Whenever you feel like criticizing any one," he told me, "just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had."

    He didn't say any more but we've always been unusually communicative in a reserved way, and I understood that he meant a great deal more than that. In consequence I'm inclined to reserve all judgments, a habit that has opened up many curious natures to me and also made me the victim of not a few veteran bores. The abnormal mind is quick to detect and attach itself to this quality when it appears in a normal person, and so it came about that in college I was unjustly accused of being a politician, because I was privy to the secret griefs of wild, unknown men. Most of the confidences were unsought–frequently I have feigned sleep, preoccupation, or a hostile levity when I realized by some unmistakable sign that an intimate revelation was quivering on the horizon–for the intimate revelations of young men or at least the terms in which they express them are usually plagiaristic and marred by obvious suppressions. Reserving judgments is a matter of infinite hope. I am still a little afraid of missing something if I forget that, as my father snobbishly suggested, and I snobbishly repeat, a sense of the fundamental decencies is parcelled out unequally at birth.

    And, after boasting this way of my tolerance, I come to the admission that it has a limit. Conduct may be founded on the hard rock or the wet marshes but after a certain point I don't care what it's founded on. When I came back from the East last autumn I felt that I wanted the world to be in uniform and at a sort of moral attention forever; I wanted no more riotous excursions with privileged glimpses into the human heart. Only Gatsby, the man who gives his name to this book, was exempt from my reaction–Gatsby who represented everything for which I have an unaffected scorn. If personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures, then there was something gorgeous about him, some heightened sensitivity to the promises of life, as if he were related to one of those intricate machines that register earthquakes ten thousand miles away. This responsiveness had nothing to do with that flabby impressionability which is dignified under the name of the "creative temperament"–it was an extraordinary gift for hope, a romantic readiness such as I have never found in any other person and which it is not likely I shall ever find again. No–Gatsby turned out all right at the end; it is what preyed on Gatsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily closed out my interest in the abortive sorrows and short-winded elations of men.

    My family have been prominent, well-to-do people in this middle-western city for three generations. The Carraways are something of a clan and we have a tradition that we're descended from the Dukes of Buccleuch, but the actual founder of my line was my grandfather's brother who came here in fifty-one, sent a substitute to the Civil War and started the wholesale hardware business that my father carries on today.

    I never saw this great-uncle but I'm supposed to look like him–with special reference to the rather hard-boiled painting that hangs in Father's office. I graduated from New Haven in 1915, just a quarter of a century after my father, and a little later I participated in that delayed Teutonic migration known as the Great War. I enjoyed the counter-raid so thoroughly that I came back restless. Instead of being the warm center of the world the middle-west now seemed like the ragged edge of the universe–so I decided to go east and learn the bond business. Everybody I knew was in the bond business so I supposed it could support one more single man. All my aunts and uncles talked it over as if they were choosing a prep-school for me and finally said, "Why–ye-es" with very grave, hesitant faces. Father agreed to finance me for a year and after various delays I came east, permanently, I thought, in the spring of twenty-two.

    The practical thing was to find rooms in the city but it was a warm season and I had just left a country of wide lawns and friendly trees, so when a young man at the office suggested that we take a house together in a commuting town it sounded like a great idea. He found the house, a weather beaten cardboard bungalow at eighty a month, but at the last minute the firm ordered him to Washington and I went out to the country alone. I had a dog, at least I had him for a few days until he ran away, and an old Dodge and a Finnish woman who made my bed and cooked breakfast and muttered Finnish wisdom to herself over the electric stove.

    It was lonely for a day or so until one morning some man, more recently arrived than I, stopped me on the road.

    "How do you get to West Egg village?" he asked helplessly.

    I told him. And as I walked on I was lonely no longer. I was a guide, a pathfinder, an original settler. He had casually conferred on me the freedom of the neighborhood.

    And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees–just as things grow in fast movies–I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.

    There was so much to read for one thing and so much fine health to be pulled down out of the young breath-giving air. I bought a dozen volumes on banking and credit and investment securities and they stood on my shelf in red and gold like new money from the mint, promising to unfold the shining secrets that only Midas and Morgan and Maecenas knew. And I had the high intention of reading many other books besides. I was rather literary in college–one year I wrote a series of very solemn and obvious editorials for the "Yale News"–and now I was going to bring back all such things into my life and become again that most limited of all specialists, the "well-rounded man." This isn't just an epigram–life is much more successfully looked at from a single window, after all.

    It was a matter of chance that I should have rented a house in one of the strangest communities in North America. It was on that slender riotous island which extends itself due east of New York and where there are, among other natural curiosities, two unusual formations of land. Twenty miles from the city a pair of enormous eggs, identical in contour and separated only by a courtesy bay, jut out into the most domesticated body of salt water in the Western Hemisphere, the great wet barnyard of Long Island Sound. They are not perfect ovals–like the egg in the Columbus story they are both crushed flat at the contact end–but their physical resemblance must be a source of perpetual confusion to the gulls that fly overhead. To the wingless a more arresting phenomenon is their dissimilarity in every particular except shape and size.

    I lived at West Egg, the–well, the less fashionable of the two, though this is a most superficial tag to express the bizarre and not a little sinister contrast between them. My house was at the very tip of the egg, only fifty yards from the Sound, and squeezed between two huge places that rented for twelve or fifteen thousand a season. The one on my right was a colossal affair by any standard–it was a factual imitation of some Hôtel de Ville in Normandy, with a tower on one side, spanking new under a thin beard of raw ivy, and a marble swimming pool and more than forty acres of lawn and garden. It was Gatsby's mansion. Or rather, as I didn't know Mr. Gatsby it was a mansion inhabited by a gentleman of that name. My own house was an eye-sore, but it was a small eye-sore, and it had been overlooked, so I had a view of the water, a partial view of my neighbor's lawn, and the consoling proximity of millionaires–all for eighty dollars a month.

    Across the courtesy bay the white palaces of fashionable East Egg glittered along the water, and the history of the summer really begins on the evening I drove over there to have dinner with the Tom Buchanans. Daisy was my second cousin once removed and I'd known Tom in college. And just after the war I spent two days with them in Chicago.

    Her husband, among various physical accomplishments, had been one of the most powerful ends that ever played football at New Haven–a national figure in a way, one of those men who reach such an acute limited excellence at twenty-one that everything afterward savors of anti-climax. His family were enormously wealthy–even in college his freedom with money was a matter for reproach–but now he'd left Chicago and come east in a fashion that rather took your breath away: for instance he'd brought down a string of polo ponies from Lake Forest. It was hard to realize that a man in my own generation was wealthy enough to do that.

    Why they came east I don't know. They had spent a year in France, for no particular reason, and then drifted here and there unrestfully wherever people played polo and were rich together. This was a permanent move, said Daisy over the telephone, but I didn't believe it–I had no sight into Daisy's heart but I felt that Tom would drift on forever seeking a little wistfully for the dramatic turbulence of some irrecoverable football game.

    And so it happened that on a warm windy evening I drove over to East Egg to see two old friends whom I scarcely knew at all. Their house was even more elaborate than I expected, a cheerful red and white Georgian Colonial mansion overlooking the bay. The lawn started at the beach and ran toward the front door for a quarter of a mile, jumping over sun-dials and brick walks and burning gardens–finally when it reached the house drifting up the side in bright vines as though from the momentum of its run.

  15. why do i get the feeling that octopopusses are way way way smarter than we think and in fact they're the ones in some Lovecraftian fashion acting as the gods and creators of our sensory based realities

  16. I hope someone put this nerd in a equal position, where he will be the victim, just to learn something, at least he will learn not to play with other creatures, I would like to se this person's behavior when he is put to fight and experiences the stress of a real victim, this will be very educational for he, he will learn more from this experimente instead of putting two little octupuses in a fight

  17. Ethical objections to this demonstration are unfounded. The act of placing two animals in an enclosed space together and observing the ensuing dominance bout is not tantamount to a cockfight or a dogfight. The octopuses have no reason to kill each other and they aren't being encouraged to. They aren't going to just rip each other's arms off over nothing.

  18. Why do I feel anguished watching these two octopuses fight, as if I'm watching a cruel dog fight. No idea offense

  19. Are recorded videos with octopuses fights open for everyone?
    They probably can be used to train neural networks imitating octopus thinking.

  20. why is it necessary to put these beings into a tiny aquarium only to watch their behaviour. one could go and watch them in nature or experiment with something else.
    I do not want to offend, just to defend these beings who do not have a choice.
    also their behaviour might be different in nature as there is much more space and they can escape much easierer, maybe they're also less interested in fighting with one another then.
    all the best to you and all beings!

  21. I'm not sure what the point of this video was, especially in a "DIY Neuroscience" kind of way… Thought this series was to give us examples of how to improve ourselves via examples found in nature, etc…

  22. "Efforts to ensure respectful and kind treatment of all creatures where possible"… Would it have been possible not to make them fight each other to satisfy your curiosity? If a scientist is watching a cockfight does it become morally acceptable?

  23. the first rule of octopus fight club is don't get involved with douchy scientists, but if you're first time in the aquagon, you have to fight.

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