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11 Octopuses Caught in the Act of Being Awesome

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Check out these videos and photos of octopuses winning at life.

1. Octopus Pulls Off Slick Boat Escape.

For a boneless contortionist, the possibilities are endless. Our eight-armed friends can squeeze through some ludicrously tiny holes, as this big Alaskan fellow did after being pulled onto a boat in 2011.

2. Octopus Hates Paparazzi, Steals Camera.

Filmmaker and scuba diver Victor Huang wound up getting some far better footage than he bargained for when a Pacific Giant Octopus latched onto and swam away with his (still-recording) video camera.

3. Octopus Owns the Art of Camouflage.

Talk about a magic act! In less than three seconds, this common octopus completely revamps the pattern, texture, brightness, and color of its skin. Your move, Penn and Teller…

4. Octopus Masters Legos.

You don’t even need opposable thumbs to enjoy building blocks. The Ocean Explorium in Bedford, Massachusetts lets visitors assemble Lego toys for one of their captive octopuses to play with.

5. Crustacean-Touting Octopus Boldly Crawls Out Onto Dry Land.

“This dude came out … to gift us a crab,” writes the video’s uploader. “What a friendly dude!”

6. Octopus Devours Seagull.

While sightseeing with her family on the British Columbian coastline, Ginger Morneau spotted an octopus drowning a hapless seagull. After subduing its winged prey, the muscular invertebrate “wrapped it up and sank to the bottom of the ocean.” According to Morneau, who took four snapshots of this carnage, “The entire process, from start to finish, [lasted] 53 seconds.” 

7. Octopus Plays With Rubber Ducky.

Here’s an adorable clip for those who’d like a G-rated version of the last entry on our list.

8. Octopus Squirts Grabby Guy.

Firing jets of water like a super-soaker is a talent many cephalopods share… including Otto, a mischievous octopus which formerly resided at the Sea Star Aquarium in Coburg, Germany. One night, he made international headlines after deliberately shorting out a light above his tank by crawling up to the rim and dousing it.

9. Octopus Makes Off with Biologist’s Bait.

In order to steal a canister of food that had been left to attract passing marine life, this mid-sized octopus had to unravel three cable ties … and hold back a pesky shark.

10. Octopus Opens Bottles.

Apparently, the specimen shown above has also propped open the lid of her own enclosure, though she’s never tried running away afterwards.

11. Octopus Paints.

You’ve seen chimps painting. You’ve seen elephants painting. It’s high time for an invertebrate artist video, courtesy of the Port Defiance Zoo & Aquarium of Tacoma, Washington.

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These Deep-Sea Worms Could Live More Than a Thousand Years

Plunge below the sparkling surface of the Gulf of Mexico, head down into the depths, and there you'll find the ancient ones, growing in clusters of drab tubes like piles of construction equipment. Scientists writing in the journal The Science of Nature report that some of these worms could be more than 1000 years old.

When it comes to marine organisms, the deeper you go, the slower and older life gets. Biologists have found an octopus that guarded her eggs for four and a half years. They've seen clams born during the Ming dynasty and sharks older than the United States. They've seen communities of coral that have been around for millennia.

Previous studies have shown that some species of tube worm can live to be 250 years old. To find out if the same was true for other species—in this case, the Gulf of Mexico's Escarpia laminata—researchers spent years watching them grow. They used a long-lasting dye called Acid Blue to mark six clusters of worms, then let them to go about their wormy business. A year later, they collected all 356 blue-stained tubes and brought them back to the lab to measure their growth.

By calculating the speed of the worms' growth and comparing it to the size of the largest individuals, the scientists could devise a pretty good estimate of the oldest worms' age.

And boy, are they old. The researchers' worm-growth simulation suggested that the most ancient individuals could be more than 9000 years old. This seems incredible, even for tough old tube worms, so the scientists calculated a more conservative maximum age: a mere 1000 years.

A millennium-long lifespan is an extreme and not the average, the paper authors note. "There may indeed be large E. laminata over 1000 years old in nature, but given our research, we are more confident reporting a life span of at least 250 to 300 years," lead author Alanna Durkin of Temple University told New Scientist.

Still, Durkin says, "E. laminata is pushing the bounds of what we thought was possible for longevity."

She's excited by the prospect of finding older creatures yet.

"It's possible that new record-breaking life spans will be discovered in the deep sea,” she says, “since we are finding new species and new habitats almost every time we send down a submersible.”

 

[h/t New Scientist]

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Animals
Watch as Hummingbirds Fly, Drink, and Flap Their Tiny Wings in Slow Motion
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Hummingbirds have more feathers per inch than nearly any other bird, but it’s hard to fully appreciate their luminescent colors when they beat their wings between 70 to 200 times per second.

For the enjoyment of birders everywhere, National Geographic photographer Anand Varma teamed up with bird biologists and used a high-speed, high-resolution camera to capture the tiny creatures in slow motion as they flew through wind tunnels, drank artificial nectar from a glass vessel, and shook water from their magnificent plumage.

[h/t The Kid Should See This]

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