Paul The Octopus
Paul The Octopus
It is unlikely that there ever has been such a famous octopus as Paul The Octopus. Never has a cephalopod mollusk shot to fame so fast as Paul. An apparent wonderous ability to predict football match winners has turned him into a star. He has become a folk hero in Spain and no doubt will be talked about for generations to come. That Spain won the 2010 World Cup is not going to be forgotten in a hurry. Paul will doubtless get a mention in every World Cup news broadcast for many years to come. It is highly likely that in the future that other predicting Octopi (or Octopuses if you prefer) will make their appearance but whether any will have the luck of Paul The Octopus is anybody's guess.
Because luck is what it was. There is no doubt whatsoever that the Octopus shows an unexpected level of intelligence and can solve quite intricate problems but to believe that Paul could actually predict a future events defies all logic.
The promotion of Paul as a predictive octopus was a brilliant idea. The fact that he made the correct predictions was no more than luck. The real luck was for the Sea Life Centre in Oberhausen, Germany, where Paul lives. No doubt they have seen a huge rise in the number of visitors since Paul shot to fame.
Already Octopus Toys are a popular item and the appearance of people dressed in Octopus Costumes at Fancy Dress Parties are a likely innovation.
PulpoPaul - Paul The Octopus
Paul Will Stay In Germany
Such is the fame of Paul the Octopus that a business man in Spain offered an extraordinary amount of money to purchase him. There is little doubt that he would have earned his money back quite quickly. Madrid Zoo apparently also made an offer and if accepted would have had visitors pouring through the gates.
Paul is staying where he is though in spite of threats to eat him by some disgruntled German football fans. Octopuses are sadly, not very long lived invertebrates (honorary vertebrates under English law) and so it is unlikely that Paul The Octopus will be around for the next World Cup.
Meanwhile Paul the Octopus can bask in his fame. He has even started 'Octopus Fever' in Shanghai, China.
A Question of Octopus Intelligence
An Octopussy Problem
I once toured an aquarium with a senior member of staff. He told me that some months before that they had been an experiencing a mysterious problem where fish were disappearing from some of the tanks. Each morning there were fish gone without a trace. They suspected that some tropical fish hobbyist was breaking in at night and stealing fish.
In an effort to catch the culprit they set up a number of motion activated cameras. To their amazement they found that moments after the aquarium had closed for the night that their Octopus climbed out of his tank and moved across the floor and up into another tank for a fishy snack. Well before staff returned to work in the morning he had returned to his own tank and sat there with a 'butter would not melt in my mouth' expression on his face. So Octopi are definitley very clever. I wonder how Paul The Octopus would have done....no doubt he would have spotted the cameras and found his way round the problem.