By Michael Thompson - email
(KLTV) - Two Australian scientists have made a surprising discovery: a tooled-up octopus that carries coconut shells for armor.
The veined octopus is the only one of its kind to actually prepare its defenses against potential predators. The animal cleans and carries discarded coconut shells across the sea floor, then hides in them.
"We chanced across this octopus, known as the veined octopus, doing amazing behavior: carrying coconut shells for later use as armor," said Dr. Julian Finn, a research biologist.
"Using tools something we think is very special about humans, exists in other animal groups, we've never considered before [that a] a low life form, a relative of a snail, these octopuses they're not simple animals," said Dr. Mark Norman, head of sciences at Museum Victoria.
The scientists spent more than 500 hours in the water observing and filming the creature's habits. They think the octopus probably started using clam shells before switching to coconuts discarded by humans.