Once more the work thrusts us into the eldritch depths of the ocean. Out of all the creatures that dwell beneath, the cephalopods are some of the strangest. They are very limb-y, and not quite bony enough.
The octopus is the smartest brand of cephalopod. So smart, in fact, that scientists are now comparing their intelligence to humans. They may not be close to inventing the stuffed crust just yet, but give 'em a few thousand years. The main problem is obviously getting a pizza oven to work underwater.
Octopi may be closer to achieving something akin to a culture than we assumed. After all, what kind of animal builds a village?
Researchers in Australia's Jervis Bay have discovered two separate communities of Gloomy Octopus. The eight-limbed animals have gathered their minds, and invented city planning.
Aside from the construction of dwellings, the octopuses were also observed partaking in the time-honored human practice of eviction by a grumpy landlord. That's right, octopus gentrification is leading to some octopi losing their homes. I'm assuming they didn't have sufficient cockle-shells to pay rent.
The Gloomy Octopus is usually a solitary animal. Finding them living together and interacting in such proximity is entirely new behavior.
Octopolis has roughly 14 octopi living in a 2-3 m crescent shaped area. They burrow into the shell-covered ground to build their dens. Shells provide the gloomy octopi with a sturdy material with which to build their homes. It was discovered in 2009.
7 years later, researchers found another colony of octopi. This one they named Octlantis. Researchers aren't certain yet if this is an emergent (newly developed) behavior, or if we're simply seeing it for the first time.
While many media outlets refer to the sites as octopus cities, the scientists are quick to throw cold water on that notion. Octopolis and Octlantis aren't cities, obviously, because there isn't a Starbucks yet.
So what does it all mean? Aside from a cute story, it's just neat. That's it. The octopi aren't organizing for a march on the land. They aren't getting ready to awaken the Great Tentacled One.
Disregard the recurring dreams you've had, calling you to the depths. I'm sure they mean nothing.
Iä! Iä! Cthulhu fhtagn! Ph'nglui mglw'nfah Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn!