Monday, June 2, 2008

Nautiluses Not Noggin-less!

One of the simplest of cephalopods, the Nautilus has always been thought of as the dumb cousin of octopi and squid. Scientists thought they only exhibited reflexive, instinctual behaviors.

But a new study shows that even this primitive sea creature can learn. Researchers were able to teach the Nautilus to associate a blue flash of light with food, similar to when Pavlov's dogs salivated at the sound of bell that was repeatedly associated with food.

The Nautilus weren't brain surgeons though - they retained the assocation for only an hour or two, not weeks like our trained fish do. But hey, not too bad for what some scientists though were just fancy clams!

I'm still hoping to get the opportunity to try our training techniques on the brainer brethren of the Nautilus - in particular Octopi. I'm got my eye on a realy beauty named Little Miss Priss at the PPG Aquarium in Pittsburgh...


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