It may be an infuriating puzzle which has baffled and defeated countless children and their parents over more than two decades, but this octopus appears determined to solve the Rubik’s Cube.
The three-dimensional puzzle, which became a huge success in the early 1980s, is among toys being given to the intelligent sea creatures to determine whether they favour a particular tentacle, or if they are octidextrous.
Experts believe octopuses use a preferred arm for feeding and touching objects and will test the theory with a month-long observation project in Sea Life Centre attractions across Europe.
More than 25 octopuses will be given food and toys to play with and visitors to the marine life centres will be enlisted to help record results.
A diagram of an octopus will be placed next to tanks, with arms on the right labelled R1, R2, R3 and R4. The left arms will be numbered in the same way but with an L instead of an R.
Visitors will be asked to note down which tentacle was closest to the object and which was used to pick it up. Staff will do the same during feeding time.
Claire Little, marine expert at the Sea Life Centre in Weymouth, Dorset, said the study could help to relieve stress among anxious octopuses. She said: “We hope [the study] will help the overall well being of octopuses.
“They are very susceptible to stress, so if they do have a favourite side to be fed on, it could reduce risk to them.”
The study begins today in all 23 branches of the Sea Life Centre attractions in Britain and Europe.
The results will be analysed by Sea Life Centre biologists and the results will be announced in the autumn. [via Telegraph.co.uk]
Tags: Octopus | Rubik’s Cube