Nature

Two cephalopods battling thousands of feet underwater is the best thing we’ve seen this week


Scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are conducting an expedition to explore the uncharted waters in the deepest parts of the Gulf of Mexico – and the footage they’re bringing back is stunning, or horrifying, depending on your view of the underwater world.

 

Last week, one of NOAA’s submersibles came across a large octopus on the seafloor just over 5,900 feet below the surface of the Gulf.

The scientists trailed the octopus to an unidentified shipwreck, and what they saw shocked them: The octopus was fighting with another octopus under the planks of the wreck.

After a brief scuffle – with tentacles flailing and sediment floating around the scene of the battle – the intruding octopus scuttled away, defeated.

The scientists aren’t sure why this scuffle, which they dubbed the “Kraken attack” after the the legendary tentacled sea monster, occurred, though they said on NOAA’s website that it could have been a battle for the prime den space under the shipwreck’s planks.

After the intruder left, the scientists observed the octopus writhing in the sediment, perhaps in an attempt to cover itself and create some sort of shelter after losing the “Battle of the Shipwreck,” as the scientists called it.

“Alternatively, maybe all of that arm waving was just a temper tantrum,” the scientists wrote.

Octopuses are recognised by scientists as some of the most intelligent invertebrates in the world, with the ability to recognise individual humans, open childproof containers, and use objects to camouflage in their surroundings.

Their behaviour, as the “Battle of the Shipwreck” shows, continues to confound scientists.

This article was originally published by Business Insider.

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