Octopus Uses Trial And Error To Solve Problems And Win Treats

The ocean is a mysterious place. There is still so much that we don’t know about our world’s oceans. But one of the things that we do know for certain, is that the sea is full of fascinating creatures.

One such animal is the octopus. These animals have been known to display some incredible feats of intelligence amongst other traits. As we see in an amazing clip from the BBC Earth series “Octopus in My House,” these cephalopods can actually both learn and retain information.

A professor of marine biology at Alaska Pacific University in Anchorage, Dr. David Scheel, showed how the resident octopus named Heidi was able to perform well during trial and error in order to get a reward.

Photo: Pixabay/Alexandra_Koch

In his experiment, Scheel placed jars full of treats into Heidi’s tank and let the cephalopod figure it out. With a little bit of concentration, the octopus was able to get to her well-earned rewards.

The professor explained, “All kinds of intelligence require feedback. I think that’s why humans are intelligent is because we just know, you try and you learn from your errors. So trial and error is really the intelligent thing and octopuses make trial and error do more than you might expect.”

Photo: YouTube/BBC Earth

In addition to this initial test, Scheel also rigged up a slightly more elaborate trick which involved an orange ball attached to a light that was attached to a buzzer. The idea was that each time Heidi pulled on the ball, the light would go on and the buzzer would sound. Then, once the buzzer went off, Scheel would come to reward her with a treat.

It didn’t take long for Heidi to figure out what she had to do if she wanted a treat.

Photo: YouTube/BBC Earth

He added, “It didn’t take her any time at all to learn that there was a cue over here …but the rest of it you know that was challenging. This idea was more fun in the concept than at any point in the execution. Heidi got fairly insistent and I decided to take this all apart.”

Watch the video below:

What do you think of the clever octopus? Let us know!

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