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If you’re a cultural conservative, worried about the decline of family values, hope has just arrived — from our cephalopod comrades, and a heartwarming tale of the special love that burns between an octopus and her kids.
Aurora, an aging, 4-year-old giant Pacific Octopus in captivity, recently gave birth to an enormous mess of eggs. But since she was really old and the eggs didn’t look too good, her attending scientists figured they probably wouldn’t hatch. And indeed, things looked grim. Though Aurora tended the eggs for six long months — constantly blowing fresh water over them and refusing to eat, while she tended her unborn children — the eggs showed no signs of hatching.
Aurora didn’t even give up in December when aquarists, convinced the eggs weren’t fertile — began draining her 3,600-gallon tank. As the water went down and she was going down with it, she sprayed her eggs, now exposed and drying on a rock.
Sharp-eyed intern Meghan Kokal saved the day. Some eggs were placed in her palm and she gave them a close look, asking about the two red dots. The dots turned out to be developing eyes.
Sure enough, the eggs were hatching — more slowly than usual because Aurora is in an Alaskan tank and the water is colder than her natural habitat. That’s one of the babies above.
I can’t believe how cute baby octopi are. Look at those tiny ‘lil tentacles! And the big head!
I'm Clive Thompson, a writer on science, technology, and culture. This blog collects bits of offbeat research I'm running into, and musings thereon.
Currently, I'm a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. I also write for Fast Company and Wired magazine's web site, among other places. Email or AOL IM me (pomeranian99) to say hi or send in something strange!
May 20, 2011 » 02:28 PM
From Christopher Kennedy’s very droll book “Neitzsche’s Horse”.
July 28, 2010 » 07:35 AM
“Wr” - S
July 06, 2010 » 10:05 AM
My Xbox broke, and I was trying to Google some possible technical solutions, when I noticed that Google appears to be encouraging me to make a typo. I suppose it’s possible that Google’s algorithms know that typing “wont” instead of “won’t” would produce better results.
June 29, 2010 » 05:00 PM
On the other hand, when I tried the test for multitasking, I was pretty abysmal. I performed worse than people who identify themselves as heavy multitaskers, and those who identify as low multitaskers.
June 29, 2010 » 04:58 PM
I finally got around to trying out the interactive “test your distractability and multitasking” page at the New York Times, which they put up alongside their story earlier this month about how computer distractions are eroding our lives.
According to the test, I guess I have good focus — I’m not very distractable!
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