Podcast: The Octopus - Living Aliens on Earth

Evolution has created an intelligence so radically different to most life on Earth, octopus are considered almost alien.

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In this episode "The mind of an octopus” Tom Switzer talks with philosopher, Peter Godfrey Smith. Peter is a Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the City University of New York; Professor of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Sydney and author of “Other minds, the octopus and the evolution of intelligent life.” 

Peter studied hundreds of octopuses, while diving off Manly beaches in Sydney and his encounters with these amazing animals spurred him on to write a book. Octopus have evolved different ways to perceive the world. For example, the nervous system of the octopus has so many neurons packed into its arms compared to the brain, that its arms appear capable of determining actions for themselves. 

Enjoy hearing about the very extraordinary life of the octopus, a living creature Peter Godfrey Smith describes as, a living alien on Earth.  

Program: "The mind of an octopus" Sunday Extra, ABC National Radio

Presenter: Tom Switzer

Producer: Chris Bullock / Kyla Slaven 

Broadcast Date: 2 April 2017

Duration: 14 minutes 21 seconds

Gabrielle Ahern

Managing Editor, npj Science of Learning Community

I am based in Queensland, Australia, and have an interesting portfolio of skills, experience and qualifications in science research and content creation.