Fellow puzzlers, I must apologize. Over the last few months, I’ve attempted to cover as wide a swathe of the puzzling community as possible in my blog posts, but I failed.
Make no mistake, I’ve done a pretty decent job of it, exploring everything from puzzle tattoos and Halloween costumes to brainteasers both new and old, from puzzle references in movies and TV to writing clues and book reviews.
But I’ve managed to neglect an entire sector of the puzzle-loving community: non-human puzzlers.
Oh yes, I’ve been unintentionally speciesist, and that stops today. Let’s take a look at Earth’s other great puzzle-solving creature: the octopus.
Think I’m kidding? Hardly.
Scientists have repeatedly found that octopuses can solve mazes, remember solutions, and apply past experience to new puzzles. They are infinitely curious and adaptable puzzle solvers in their own right.
In fact, some researchers have taken to offering what are known as “prey puzzles” to octopuses in captivity in order to study how they learn, as well as their dexterity, both mental and physical.
From locked boxes to screw-top jars and bottles, prey puzzles have all been solved with relative ease by octopuses. (In fact, Lucy the Puzzle-Solving Octopus — which should really be a children’s book or a kids’ TV series — has been the subject of several articles.)
True, they’re not exactly solving Rubik’s Cubes or decoding cryptograms, but they do impressive mechanical puzzle-solving for a species lacking thumbs, don’t you think?
So, it is with deep regret that I apologize to the octopus community for ignoring your puzzle-solving skills for so long. It shan’t happen again, I assure you.
And now, as a final act of contrition, I give you the following video, featuring a poorly-filmed octopus solving a fairly simple prey puzzle in under two minutes. Enjoy!