Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Via that doyen of all thing tentacly, PZ Meyers, comes a news story about an Korean octopus fisherman. While trawling for his catch, he pulled up several octopuses with bits of pottery stuck to their tentacles. He didn't pay much attention until one octopus came up holding an entire plate. He took the finds to a local museum, where they were identified as rare 12th century Koryo porcelain. The cephalopods must have been visiting a local shipwreck, although it's not known how they acquired their affinity for fine antiques. Probably they were simply trying to grasp onto anything to avoid being pulled to the surface. Now, octopuses are smart. How long before some enterprising treasure seeker tries to train the critters to fetch objects from the sea floor?

Pedant note: the second article linked refers to pottery "shards." The proper archaeological term when referring to pottery is "sherds," though you can still speak of shards of glass.


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