Thursday, July 08, 2010

Welcome Your Psi-Powered Cephalopod Overlord

Never mind communicating with animals via a psychic, just let them talk directly to us.

A "psychic" octopus is said by its aquarium owners to have predicted the country's football team will knock England out of the World Cup.

When consulted, Paul the octopus chose a mussel from a jar with the German flag on it ahead of one in a similar jar bearing the cross of St George.

Cephalopods are intelligent creatures, but who would have suspected their aquatic fascination with a human propensity to knock a ball about from one end of a paddock to another?

"Paul's prediction was phenomenal," said aquarium spokesman Tanja Munzig.

"He swam straight over to the German glass, climbed in and even put a lid on top once he was sitting inside."

It's also amazing how Paul has learnt to recognise national flags, and to associate them with the appropriate team.

Some people might be cynical, even dismissive of such skills, but the journalists aren't falling for it. Other animals are actually quite poor at betting on sporting competitions.

Other animal oracles in German zoos cannot claim such a strong track record.

Nineteen-year-old hippo Petty falsely predicted a German win over Serbia last week. At the Chemnitz zoo in eastern Germany, she had to choose between two piles of hay with red apples on top and nibbled from the wrong pile.

Tamarin Anton, a monkey at the same zoo, chose the wrong raisin a few days ago, incorrectly claiming that Ghana would beat Germany, kicking it out of the World Cup.

Now that Paul has correctly predicted the outcome of the Spain-Germany bout (and "every German World Cup match so far") EoR's advice is to put your house and all your savings on his next prediction. He doesn't appear to have issued his official prognostication yet, but even money is being offered on it already. EoR presumes that means his guess will either be right or wrong. Or that, in a game with two teams, one will win.


  1. I read that as "Welcome your Pepsi-Powered Cephalopod Overlord" -- too much reading ScienceBlogs I suppose.

  2. Haha Liz, so did I.

    Octopuses may chose a flag but they also change colours - so how reliable are they?

  3. Hey, me too!

    Probably because I was sorely tempted to re-open my blog just to comment on the sci-blogs debacle.


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.