Scientists discover two underwater cities built by octopuses
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Featured Image Credit: PGS
Scientists have discovered not just one, but two underwater 'cities', which have been built by octopuses.
Creatures lurking in the depths look like something from another planet, and new research has shown that oceans on Jupiter's moon Europa could be a strong candidate for hosting actual extraterrestrial life.
In 2023, despite our advances in technology, the ocean remains as mysterious and impenetrable as ever. So it's both surprising and unsurprising that scientists have now found underwater 'cities' constructed by one of the ocean's most alien-looking inhabitants: the octopus.
It's been understood for some time that octopuses are intelligent animals, and they are thought to have roughly the intelligence of a three-year-old child.
There's something about their bizarre, fluid forms which captures human imagination, and they may even have some understanding of anatomy.
Footage from the BBC's Blue Planet 2 showed an octopus fighting dirty when a shark got hold of it, jamming its tentacles into the sharks gills to escape in the marine equivalent of an eye gouge.
However, scientists have now found octopuses appearing to manipulate their environment in a more permanent way than using tools. Jervis Bay in Eastern Australia, is home to two communities of Gloomy Octopus, which have been called Octopolis and Octlantis.
Here the octopuses have been observed to live in constructed burrows and dens. They use things such as shells to create their abodes, and have even been observed to evict each other from their dens.
Professor David Scheel led research into the octopus communities and said: “These behaviours are the product of natural selection, and may be remarkably similar to vertebrate complex social behaviour.”
Not only that but the underwater octopus cities didn't have any human elements at their heart, meaning that the octopuses constructed them themselves.
Report co-author Stephanie Chancellor observed that the octopus' works 'were further sculpted to create dens, making these octopuses true environmental engineers'.
What the octopus communities also offer is the opportunity for scientists to observe how the extraordinary creatures interact with one another. Marine biologists have observed them to communicate, and even evict one another from choice dens in the artificial reef they have created.
It's not the only instance of octopuses using their environment to their advantage. The Blanket Octopus has been seen using detached jellyfish tentacles as venomous whips to hunt prey, while coconut octopuses use coconut shells and clam shells to conceal and protect themselves.