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Octopus

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Not a Number
123789.  Tue Dec 05, 2006 10:17 am Reply with quote

Just a video of an octopus escaping through a one-inch hole. Don't we all love watching them doing crazy things? Adorable.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4007016107763801953&q=octopus[/i]

 
grimwig
124145.  Wed Dec 06, 2006 6:45 am Reply with quote

The real General Ignorance fact for yer actual octopus is that it has eight arms and not eight tentacles

 
ikkan
138015.  Tue Jan 23, 2007 8:31 am Reply with quote

And they taste rather pleasant too... they kinda have the rubbery texture you expect...

Anyway, their method of swimming is similar to their jelly-based cousins; squeezing water down to push themselves around, only octopi use their tentacles and jelly-fish use their gelatinous helmet.

 
smiley_face
138096.  Tue Jan 23, 2007 10:16 am Reply with quote

ikkan wrote:
...octopi...

Does the plural of octopus (and indeed cactus) end in "-i" or "-uses"?

The etymology of both words appears to be Latin from Greek, so which language's rules do they obey?

Where's that resident language expert of ours gone?

SUZE...
[/booming voice]

 
ikkan
138102.  Tue Jan 23, 2007 10:28 am Reply with quote

To be honest, once a word is accepted into another language, the plurality rules of the original language no longer need to be followed. 'Typhoon' is from Japanese, a language with unmarked plural, and we have no problem saying 'typhoons'

 
ikkan
138103.  Tue Jan 23, 2007 10:29 am Reply with quote

(I just said octopi coz it sounds good :). No linguistic merit at all!)

 
suze
138137.  Tue Jan 23, 2007 11:38 am Reply with quote

Yes, Fi? I do have to do some work from time to time, you know!

The word "octopus" comes from Greek, not Latin. The Greek plural of októpous is októpodes - and once in a longish while, one sees "octopodes" used in English. But for all practical purposes, "octopuses" is the English plural (regular readers will remember me railing against "fora", so you'd hardly expect me to back "octopodes".)

"Octopi" is etymologically wrong in every conceivable way, but I can't deny that it gets used a fair bit - and therefore it's not really for me to say that it's "wrong, end of". It stems from the belief that octopus is a Latin word, which it isn't. Furthermore, if it had been Latin then it would have been octopes and the plural would have been octopedes.


"Cactus" is slightly more complicated, because it does come into English from Greek káktos via Latin cactus (which doesn't mean a cactus). The Greek plural would be káktoi I think (Alfred would know for definite, I'm sure), and the Latin plural would be cacti. I'd use "cactuses" in English, but "cacti" is so widespread that I certainly wouldn't go so far as to say that it's wrong. In the south of the USA where they have those very large ones, they tend to use "cactus" as both singular and plural.

 
smiley_face
138153.  Tue Jan 23, 2007 11:57 am Reply with quote

suze wrote:
Yes, Fi? I do have to do some work from time to time, you know!

Don't lie. I can see straight through you.

Anyway, thanks for clearing that up!

 
nufc1961
392629.  Wed Aug 13, 2008 5:56 am Reply with quote

grimwig wrote:
The real General Ignorance fact for yer actual octopus is that it has eight arms and not eight tentacles


latest news from scientists: octopodes have only six arms and two legs:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article4517779.ece

 
Ian Dunn
393702.  Sat Aug 16, 2008 2:47 am Reply with quote

I've just read that. That has to be in "General Ignorance". It is perfect QI material.

 
gruff5
393729.  Sat Aug 16, 2008 4:55 am Reply with quote

the times wrote:
Octopuses are among the most intelligent of marine creatures and can learn to open jam jars and manipulate small objects such as the Rubik’s Cube – although, so far as is known, none has yet succeeded in solving the puzzle.

LOL! :-)

 
RLDavies
393751.  Sat Aug 16, 2008 6:04 am Reply with quote

Octopuses have good eyesight and a marvellous sense of touch, but their senses fail entirely in what humans would consider a very basic way. Although living in a three-dimensional world, they seem to have no conception of position in three-dimensional space.

It is easy to train an octopus to distinguish between a W-shaped zigzag and something like a square, for instance, by sight or feel. But it's impossible for it to learn the difference between a W and an M, where the only difference is orientation. The two shapes are identical to an octopus.

Similarly, if you have a series of glass rods that have been engraved with fine grooves, the octopus finds it child's play to distinguish between different densitities of grooves that no human could tell apart, say 50 grooves per centimetre compared to 52. But it can't tell the difference between a rod with grooves running around it and one where grooves of the same density run from end to end.

Sorry, I don't have a reference for this; it's something I picked up 30 or 40 years ago.

 
marjan
864321.  Mon Nov 14, 2011 2:44 am Reply with quote

Didn't think that Octopuses have such an ability to squeeze through so tiny holes. Other octopuses have been found to use old coconut shells to build little houses for themselves on the ocean floor!!

 
Zebra57
864348.  Mon Nov 14, 2011 5:37 am Reply with quote

Starring the octopus

http://www.boreme.com/posting.php?id=17905

 
Bondee
864450.  Mon Nov 14, 2011 3:52 pm Reply with quote

marjan wrote:
Other octopuses have been found to use old coconut shells to build little houses for themselves on the ocean floor!!


And if they can't find a coconut shell, they'll use the lid from a tin of paint.

 

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