What, with the upcoming Mayan Apocalypse, the soon to ensue Zombie Apocalypse, Global Climate Change, comets, asteroids, impending nuclear conflict in the middle east, the fiscal cliff…the word is out.
Now I was going to save this one for an April Fools article, but the title item forced my hand. So get out your check books and contribute now to save one of the rarest and least known cryptids indigenous to my neck of the woods:
The Pacific Northwest tree octopus (Octopus paxarbolis) can be found in the temperate rainforests of the Olympic Peninsula on the west coast of North America. Their habitat lies on the Eastern side of the Olympic mountain range, adjacent to Hood Canal. These solitary cephalopods reach an average size (measured from arm-tip to mantle-tip,) of 30-33 cm. Unlike most other cephalopods, tree octopuses are amphibious, spending only their early life and the period of their mating season in their ancestral aquatic environment. Because of the moistness of the rainforests and specialized skin adaptations, they are able to keep from becoming desiccated for prolonged periods of time, but given the chance they would prefer resting in pooled water.
An intelligent and inquisitive being (it has the largest brain-to-body ratio for any mollusk), the tree octopus explores its arboreal world by both touch and sight. Adaptations its ancestors originally evolved in the three dimensional environment of the sea have been put to good use in the spatially complex maze of the coniferous Olympic rainforests. The challenges and richness of this environment (and the intimate way in which it interacts with it,) may account for the tree octopus’s advanced behavioral development. (Some evolutionary theorists suppose that “arboreal adaptation” is what laid the groundwork in primates for the evolution of the human mind.)
Think I am joking?
GO ahead, say it. I can take it. Because we are on the verge of dooming ourselves somehow on this planet and the next steps in evolution are already being taken.
From Tree Hugger.com
Octopus Crawls Out of Water and Begins Walking on Land (Video)
Jerry James Stone
Nov 23, 2011
Wow, check out this amazing video of an octopus literally crawling out of the water and walking across dry land. The video was captured at the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve.
It turns out this behavior is not as uncommon as one might expect. Captive octopuses escape with alarming frequency. While on the lam, they have been discovered in teapots and even on bookshelves.
“Some would let themselves be captured, only to use the net as a trampoline. They’d leap off the mesh and onto the floor—and then run for it. Yes, run. You’d chase them under the tank, back and forth, like you were chasing a cat,” Middlebury College researcher Alexa Warburton says. “It’s so weird!”
That said, capturing it on film is quite rare. Mainly because studies on octopuses are so limited due to the creature’s typical shyness and their brief life span of about three years. Back in 2005, the journal Science first published findings on this behavior. However, this was underwater. These octopuses were the first animals to walk on two limbs without a hard skeleton; usually they use all eight legs.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if other octopus species also walk,” said Science author Christine Huffard, from the University of California, Berkeley.
It seems like they do!
Looks to me like this one was bringing his trash up onto dry land. Only fair considering how much we dump in the ocean.
Lady in video:
“Where are you headed dood?”
“The Future you up-jumped talking monkey, and you ain’t in it!”
Hail to our new Octopoid overlords!