Throwing was previously thought to be a behavior found almost exclusively in mammals. Now researchers have discovered that the squid also targets certain species. but why?
SYDNEY (AP) – Common Sydney octopuses throw mud, mussels and algae around – seemingly aiming at certain species, but also at fish. Researchers in Australia have seen this unusual behavior of a squid (Octopus tetricus) in underwater movie recordings from a bay in the southeast of the country. The team wrote in: Plus One Magazine.
Video recordings from Jervis Bay in New South Wales date back to 2015 and 2016. The team, led by philosopher of science Peter Godfrey Smith of the University of Sydney, identified 102 cases in their analyzes in a group of about a dozen squid, and in which were individual molded samples of marine sediment.
She said the common Sydney octopuses collect and shed material such as silt or shells by expelling water at high speed through their funnel-shaped tubular organs. Squids use the funnel organ for respiration and locomotion, among other things. In order to perform the throws, they said, the octopuses had to put the funnel organ in an unusual position, indicating that the behavior was intentional.
Although both sexes are observed throwing up, females (66 percent) predominate. Among other things, the behavior occurs when males try to mate. Animals that were the target of attacks often bowed down or raised one of their arms for defense. However, we still have to see an octopus hitting a throw and then “responding by shooting” and throwing it again. The animals would also dispose of food scraps and other items to clean out their shelter.
The study found that throwing objects is an unusual behavior in animals. Targeted throwing is often considered specifically human and likely played an important role in evolution. To date, the behavior has also been observed in some species of monkeys (particularly chimpanzees and capuchins) and elephants.
It remains unclear what social role this behavior plays in octopuses. Oddly enough, for example, other animals rarely run into litter — some even become completely empty, according to the researchers.
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