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Octopolis and Octlantis

October 18, 2017 Comments (0) Views: 157 Nostalgia

Octopolis and Octlantis: the engineering efforts of Sydney’s underwater “architects”

The Inca built the Machi Picchu, and the ancient Egyptians had the pyramids. The cephalopods down there in the oceans – they did Octopolis and Octlantis.

The recent discovery of an apparent attempt of underwater architecture had led researchers and scientists to conclude that octopuses indeed are capable of demonstrating a human-like behavior.

It is no secret that there are several brilliant facts about octopuses. These mysterious, almost alien-like lords of the oceans, have three hearts, their blood is blue, and they will eject dark ink to defend from predators. They will unquestionably manage into the tiniest hole possible to let themselves in and escape danger.

As it now turns, they also have the capabilities to build, at least rudimentary structures on the ocean floor, which is another confirmation of the remarkable intelligence and skills that these species possess.

The sites of Octlantis and Octopolis can be found just south of Sydney, Australia, at what would be Jervis Bay. According to marine biologists, the octopuses there engage in an amusing behavior and communication among each other.

Their first underwater “engineering effort” was noticed back in 2009, at some 15 meters underwater and was called Octopolis. Initially, everyone had thought that this spot on the ocean floor was just another oddity, as the formation encircled around a large, human-made metal object.

Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Peter Godfrey-Smith, would compare Octopolis to an “artificial reef,” a sort of underwater shelter in a somewhat dangerous area, which octopuses would use it tactically to escape predators of the likes of sharks.

Photo of Octopus Tetricus, hiding under a rock. Two areas in Jervis Bay where they congregate have been dubbed Octopolis and Octlantis, containing a large area of discarded shells where ten or more octopuses den and mate, photo credit

It became all more clear when the so-called Octlantis got discovered earlier in 2017, another site where the underwater architects have managed to raise rudimentary walls made of clams and shells, or what would be the leftovers of their breakfast, lunch or dinner.

In the words of Stephanie Chancellor who has produced a report about this unusual discovery, these piles “were further sculptured to create dens, making these octopuses true environmental engineers.” The octopuses keep to their dens, as apparently, they also chase each other so to protect the shelter that belongs to them.

Of course, octopuses are not the first engineers we have spotted in the animal kingdom. Perhaps it is way more striking how bees construct their hives composed of perfect hexagonal cells where they would store honey or larvae and other brood. But the case of the octopuses is all the more interesting as the way they behave down there in the waters – it is similar to how three-year-old humans just may perform.

We also thought to remind you of three of the world’s most remote cities.


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