People who have spent time with animals know that they are capable of a lot more than we give them credit for. They can process complex emotions and become very attached to other humans. This also goes for the octopus, which scientists agree is one of the smartest animals on the planet, capable of higher-level emotional intelligence.
Peter Godfrey-Smith, author of The Mind of an Octopus, says that "they are probably the closest we will come to meeting an intelligent alien."
According to Peter, octopuses can tell apart individual human faces, even if the humans are wearing identical uniforms (i.e., they can distinguish specific facial characteristics). They show an interest in play and have both long and short-term memories. They're also master escape artists!
One family recently found out just how intelligent octopuses are after they saved one that was stranded on the beach. Here's what they wrote in their YouTube video caption:
We spent our Holidays at the Red Sea. While walking along a lonely beach we saw a stranded octopus in the sand. We were not sure if he is already dead. So we pushed him back into the water.
They thought they'd seen the last of him, but the very next day he came back to them.
The caption goes on:
He needed some minutes to recover, then he swam away. Next day we went to the same beach for a walk. While walking along the beach we saw a shadow in the water coming very quickly to us. It was our octopus we rescued yesterday! He recognized us!
Not only did the octopus recognize and swim up to them specifically, he seemed genuinely affectionate and grateful to them for saving his life.
He accompanied with us a long time while we walked along the beach, all the time tried to touch our feet. We are sure that this Octopus came back to thank us for saving his life. It’s amazing how intelligent animals are.
What an absolutely incredible encounter! It really is amazing just how intelligent animals are - it's pretty silly to think we humans are the only ones capable of deeper thinking.