Cephalopod intelligence

Cephalopod Intelligence

Cephalopod intelligence

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Cephalopod intelligence has an important comparative aspect in the understanding of intelligence, because it relies on a nervous system fundamentally different from that of vertebrates. The cephalopod class of molluscs, particularly the Coleoidea subclass (cuttlefish, squid and octopuses), are considered the most intelligent invertebrates and an important example of advanced cognitive evolution in animals.

The scope of cephalopod intelligence is controversial, complicated by the challenges of studying these elusive and fundamentally different creatures. Classical conditioning of cephalopods has been reported, and one study (Fiorito and Scotto, 1992) even concluded that octopuses practise observational learning. In any case, impressive spatial learning capacity, navigational abilities, and predatory techniques remain beyond question.

Examples of intelligence

Predation techniques

Unlike most other molluscs, all cephalopods are active predators (with the possible exception of the bigfin squid). Their requirement to locate and capture their prey has been a probable driving force behind the development of their intelligence, uniquely advanced in...
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