Animal minds Evolution Intelligent Design

Can octopuses really feel pain?

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The brainy cephalopods behaved about the same as lab rats under similar conditions, raising both neuroscience and ethical issues:

Highly intelligent invertebrates like these challenge our ideas of how life forms come to be intelligent. For one thing, unlike most intelligent life forms, octopuses are unsocial and short-lived. Some researchers think that octopuses were forced to become intelligent when, unlike their nautilus cousins, they lost their shells…

Well now, there’s an animal intelligence hypothesis we can test: Will we ever find a shelled creature that is as smart as the octopus?

Meanwhile, what to make of Ed Yong’s suggestion, “This gantlet of threats might have fueled the evolution” of octopus intelligence? Need alone does not by itself produce intelligence any more than fear of death by itself produces longer natural lifespans. A creature that needs intelligence but doesn’t have it might just as likely go extinct. There are some significant unknowns we need to fill in here.

News, “Octopuses get emotional about pain, research suggests” at Mind Matters News

Takehome: The smartest of invertebrates, the octopus, once again prompts us to rethink what we believe to be the origin of intelligence.

You may also wish to read:

Is the octopus a “second genesis” of intelligence? Can its strange powers provide insights for robotics or the human mind?


Scientists clash over why octopuses are smart New findings show, the brainy seafood breaks all the rules about why some life forms are smart.

4 Replies to “Can octopuses really feel pain?

  1. 1
    AaronS1978 says:

    I always assumed they felt and perceived pain like every other animal does

    I am really shocked that this experiment even needed to happen

  2. 2
    Bob O'H says:

    AaronS1978 – it’s worth reading the full description. The test is more about how they experience and react to pain. Although, yes, it’s not surprising.

    I suspect a lot of this research is as much about how we can understand how other animals think when we can’t talk to them.

  3. 3
    polistra says:

    This isn’t especially new. Consciousness in various animals is arguable, but pain responses are similar all the way down.

  4. 4
    RoyRogersMcFreely says:

    Of course octopuses (octopi is incorrect) feel pain! I’ve seen ants feel pain! As Polistra points out, all animals demonstrate pain responses. I have no idea why this experiment was even performed!

    There is a lot of evidence that should make us rethink what we believe to be the origin of intelligence.
    There are a ton of reasons for believing that our brain is not capable of housing our memories/personality/intelligence.

    I highly recommend Mark Mahin’s blog to any who wish to see the flaws of the materialistic/atheist faith.

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