One of our WordPress neighbors has a really cool post up about The Giant’s Causeway, and if you don’t know what that name means, just click the link, anyway.
So, anyway, I was impressed over the weekend at how many people asked me whether I had heard about the octopus and the coconut. It’s one of those nifty things science brings us from time to time. Dr. Julian Finn, to the one, told BBC’s Rebecca Morelle he “nearly drowned laughing” when he first witnessed the behavior. But I admit I like Brendan Kiley‘s description for Slog:
Octopuses continue their long tradition of freaking out human beings—now they’re using tools, excavating buried coconut halves (discarded by humans), tucking them under their … undersides, and “stilt-walking” them away to use as shelter ….
…. They escape from their aquariums, they grab birds from the land and into tidal pools, they solve puzzles, they recognize human faces, they occasionally attack divers, and now they build little houses for themselves.
Maybe the Haida were right all along: Octopuses are the people of the sea.
I just think it’s cool that we can add them to the list of tool-using animals. But, as with the crows, there is something a little unsettling about an animal that both uses tools and remembers who you are.
Okay, so this is pretty cool. Jonathan Amos reports for the BBC:
Extraordinary video has been obtained in the Pacific Ocean of the deepest undersea eruption ever recorded.
The pictures show lavas bursting into the water at the West Mata submarine volcano, which is sited about 200km (125 miles) south-west of the Samoas.
The US Jason robotic submersible had to descend over 1,100m to acquire the high definition video.
The vehicle found microbes and a specialized volcano-dwelling shrimp thriving in hot, acidic waters.
“It’s an extraordinary environment,” said Joseph Resing, a chemical oceanographer at the University of Washington and the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean in Seattle, US.
“You have molten lavas at 1,400C producing acidic fluids – the sulphur dioxide makes these fluids as acidic as pH1.4 – and yet microbes are thriving,” he told BBC News.
“The magmatic gases sustain and provide energy for microbial life, and then the microbes provide energy for the shrimp.
“We see them very close to the volcano – within metres.”
Dr Resing has been describing the volcano’s behaviour here at the American Geophysical Union’s (AGU) Fall Meeting, the world’s largest annual gathering of Earth scientists.
Not only is it the deepest eruption, but it is also among the hottest; the volcano, say researchers, expels boninite lava, which is apparently really hot.