Are you smarter than a cuttlefish?

Humans think they are pretty smart. My question is … are humans smarter than cuttlefish?

Before you answer, consider this – cuttlefish have millions and millions of special colour changing cells on their skin called chromatophores. The chromatophores are responsible for the cuttlefish’s amazing camouflaging ability. All of the colour changing decisions are made by the cuttlefish’s nervous system. What’s more, the cuttlefish also has the ability to change the texture of its skin to improve its camouflage. If you have never seen a cuttlefish camouflage itself check out this video:

This one of an octopus is also pretty amazing:

[Lots more videos HERE.]

So cuttlefish are capable of making millions of camouflage (both colour and texture) calculations/decisions in a split second.

Human intelligence may also be measured by our ability to use our nervous system, in particular our brain, to make calculations or decisions.

So I’ll ask again – are humans smarter than cuttlefish?

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15 Responses to “Are you smarter than a cuttlefish?”

  1. Sean M Says:

    That first video was amazing.
    You would have absolutely no idea that was there if you hadnt seen it camoflage itself beforehand.
    But i dont think its being smart, its just innate behaviour.
    (this comment is especially good because i used the word innate)

  2. Steve k Says:

    accoring to steve’s first law of reality, human opinions are almost always wrong, so most animals would be smarter.

  3. Daisy Threlfall Says:

    I reckon it totally depends on either the human or the cuttlefish. If you get quite a unintelligent human and an intelligent cuttlefish perhaps the cuttlefish could be smarter.

    But is it intelligence or just natural survival behaviour. Humans are past the stage of just surviving they have developed and built things. Perhaps in a million years cuttlefish will grow and develop and take over the world.

    I guess we will have to wait and see.
    BEWARE THE CUTTLEFISH as they could perhaps outsmart us.

  4. Jeremy Cameron Says:

    Hey Mr. Barlow, I think the first video is alot more amazing because you dont even know that the Cuttlefish was there until it jumped out. It’s also cool how it not only changes its colour, but it also changes the shape of its skin to make it look prickely like the plant. The slow motion replay backwards definitely makes you get a better idea of what actually happend and how it worked. At first i didn’t have a clue what it was, i thought it looked like a grey golia or bear thing because his eye was black with a bit of white so it looked like teeth, and his legs looked like a bears big paws. the second video is also cool becasue it shows that the octopuse can take on more than one colour or shape.


  5. Steve k Says:

    if you think about how much brain power we use to walk it’s lots, but arthrapods can walk better, and it uses very little brain power

  6. Naza the spazza Says:

    but i am so much smarter than a cuttlefish! Duh……………..

  7. chris.w Says:

    that is pretty cool but i am smarter than a cuttlefish!

  8. Snake Says:

    Of course cuttlefish and all other animals are smarter than humans…being a threat to the same environment which sustains you is illogical and dumb.

  9. maddy1994 Says:

    Hey Mr Barlow!
    That is very, very cool. I don’t honsetly think we are, I mean how smart can humans be, we’re tearing down rainforest, have had two world wars, made a hole in the ozone layer and have basicly doomed the earth. I think cuttle fish are very smart.

    Maddy White
    p.s check out my blog, I have some interesting stuff at the moment 🙂

  10. kate m Says:

    Of course I’m smarter 🙂 Thanks!

  11. Alex Says:

    I wrote an essay in 2007 on yet another way in which cuttlefish can be seen to be smarter than humans – see my blog 😉

  12. Isabelle Says:

    haha this is so cool

  13. JasonRalls Says:

    Anyone who doubts cuttlefish intelligence, just watch the pbs nova special on them. The look of focus and intensity in their eyes as they tackle complex problems is startling.

  14. erkmer Says:

    Hello Mr. Barlow,
    As a developing teacher, I must say your blog is setting a standard. I’m also looking to fit ICT into my teaching in a way that makes information more accessible and interesting. Keep up the good work.
    By the way, here is the same video of the camouflaged octopus, but with a description and commentary from the biologist who captured it:

  15. Benjamin Cauwenbergs Says:

    You would think it’s a dumb animal, but it is pretty smart. It knows manny more things than a human. Animal intelagence is way more advanced then human intelagence. To think this invertabrate is smarter then you, it’s true. But even as human intelagence grows, we will never be smarter then these animals.

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