Paul, the World-Cup-predicting octopus, has brought attention to recent research suggesting the octopus is a relatively intelligent animal despite its exclusion from the mammal club. “What scientists are discovering about the octopus calls into question many of our assumptions about intelligence. Partly this is because the creatures are so different from the kinds of animals—social vertebrates, especially mammals—that have long been seen as having a monopoly on smarts. Octopuses appeared on the planet even before the first fish, and they are almost as far removed from us primates as another animal can get. And although it has long been theorized that intelligence evolved in social creatures as a way for species that live in groups to navigate the complex social world, the octopus leads a solitary life.”
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