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How octopus develops its imitation skill?

How octopus develops its imitation skill?


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I've watched one documentary about a Mimic octopus which they can imitate another animals in several form e.g. a Lion fish, a Sea snake, a Flatfish, etc. My question is how these octopuses can have these such skills? Imagine that they can not see themselves via a mirror but their imitation is so perfect.

What is a theory behind this?


Octopus mimics flatfish and flaunts it

Paul the Octopus -- the eight-legged oracle who made international headlines with his amazingly accurate football forecasting -- isn't the only talented cephalopod in the sea. The Indonesian mimic octopus, which can impersonate flatfish and sea snakes to dupe potential predators, may well give Paul a run for his money when it comes to "see-worthy" skills.

By creatively configuring its limbs, adopting characteristic undulating movements, and displaying conspicuous color patterns, the mimic octopus (Thaumoctopus mimicus) can successfully pass for a number of different creatures that share its habitat, several of which are toxic. Now, scientists from the California Academy of Sciences and Conservation International Indonesia have conducted DNA analysis to determine how this remarkable adaptation evolved. The research is reported in the September 2010 issue of the Biological Journal of the Linnean Society.

Like its relatives, the mimic octopus is very capable of hiding from hungry predators by blending into its background. However, this talented species often chooses to make itself more conspicuous to predators by mimicking flatfish, lionfish or sea snakes that display high-contrast color patterns. This daredevil maneuver is thought to help T. mimicus confuse or scare away predators. Because it is relatively rare for an animal to develop such a high-risk, conspicuous defense strategy, the authors of the recent study hoped to gain insight into the evolutionary forces that fueled this behavior by conducting genetic research on the mimic octopus and its relatives. They focused on the mimic's ability to flatten its arms and head and swim along the sea floor like a flatfish, while simultaneously exhibiting a bold, brown-and-white color pattern.

Using DNA sequences to construct a genealogy for the mimic octopus and more than 35 of its relatives, the researchers ascertained the order in which the T. mimicus lineage evolved several key traits: 1) First, T. mimicus ancestors evolved the use of bold, brown-and-white color displays, employed as a secondary "shock" defense to surprise predators if camouflage fails. 2) Next, they developed the flatfish swimming technique and the long arms that facilitate this motion. 3) Finally, T. mimcus began displaying bold color patterns while impersonating a flatfish -- both during daily forays away from its den and at rest. In evolutionary terms, this last step represents an extremely risky shift in defense strategy.

"The close relatives of T. mimicus use drab colors and camouflage quite successfully to hide from predators," says Dr. Christine Huffard, Marine Conservation Priorities Advisor at Conservation International Indonesia. "Why does T. mimicus instead draw attention to itself, and repeatedly abandon the camouflage abilities it inherited from its ancestors in favor of a bold new pattern? Somehow, through natural selection, being conspicuous has allowed T. mimicus to survive and reproduce more successfully than some of its less showy ancestors, and eventually evolve into its own lineage."

The researchers suggest several possibilities for why this bold coloration would be advantageous. It may fool predators into thinking the octopus is a toxic flatfish (such as the peacock sole, Pardachirus pavoninus, or the zebra sole, Zebrias spp.) it may obscure the octopus's outline against the black-and-white sandy bottoms or it may serve as an honest warning sign of the mimic's unpalatable flesh.

"While T. mimicus's imitation of flatfish is far from perfect, it may be 'good enough' to fool predators where it lives, in the world's center of marine biodiversity," says Dr. Healy Hamilton, Director of the Center of Applied Biodiversity Informatics at the California Academy of Sciences. "These octopuses can change their color pattern to look similar to -- but not exactly like -- numerous toxic and non-toxic flatfishes in their area. In the time it takes a predator to do a double-take, the octopus may be able to get away."

Undescribed by scientists until 1998, much remains unknown about the mimic octopus. Future research will focus on observing T. mimicus in the wild in Indonesia, so that scientists can assess the possible reasons for its bold coloration and better understand the costs and benefits of this strategy.

"This study reminds us that evolution does not have an endgame, but is a continuous process," says Huffard. "These octopuses will continue evolving as long as we can protect them and their habitat from threats like trawling, land reclamation, and run-off."

These findings were published in Huffard CL, Saarman N, Hamilton H, and Simison WB. 2010. The evolution of conspicuous facultative mimicry in octopus: an example of secondary adaptation? Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 101: 68-77.


What happens if you get bitten by a blue-ringed octopus?

After 1-2 minutes, the venom paralyzes the victim by blocking the nervous system that controls muscles from transmitting messages.
The target will remain fully conscious, and Then Death usually occurs as a result of lack of oxygen.

The only way to survive is to get artificial respiration until help arrives.

The first 4 to 10 hours is the most dangerous.

What Is The Name Of the Poison The Blue Ringed Octopus?

The name of the blue-ringed octopus poison is The Chemical and toxin called Tetrodotoxin, and is produced in its salivary glands live bacteria.

How poison is the Blue Ringed Octopus venom?

Tetrodotoxin is one of the most poisoned chemicals produced by any animal, it is dazzling 1200 times more powerful than cyanide.

Has Anybody Got Killed By A Blue Ringed Octopus?

Two people in Australia and one in Singapore. But Many have come close to death.

Trademark feature
They have the characteristic blue rings around their bodies, even when they change colors to blend into surroundings those bluish identifying marks are there.

They are normally a yellowish coloring but you may not see them in that original color. With the location where they live it can often be a brownish or a cream color that they will portray. That way they can really blend in well to the surroundings. The bluish coloring of them is quite distinct though so you should always be able to determine them from other types of Octopus.


Octopuses have decentralized brains and the majority of its neurons live in the arms. Those neurons assist the arms to independently touch, taste, and have their own basic motions giving the impression that octopus has nine brains.

All octopuses can produce ink except for those octopuses that live in the deep open ocean. The octopuses’ ink comes from the ink sacs in their gills. They squirt ink when they face danger and need to escape from their predators. Their ink is accompanied by mucous when produced.


How is an Octopus Smarter than a Fifth Grader?

Octopuses, along with many other marine-living animals like dolphins and whales, have been studied and compared to humans. Their behaviours and skills are often observed and tested extensively in order to understand the true nature of these creatures. The impressive abilities of an octopus includes its behavioural patterns, morphological innovations, and cognitive abilities.

With regards to their behavioural patterns, octopuses are relatively anti-social creatures, spending their short five year life span learning how to find food, avoid predators, and react to their environment independently, versus a fifth grader, presumably of ages ten to eleven, who are still in full reliance of a parent or guardian. In this sense, an octopus’ ability to receive, process, and respond to information is much faster than a fifth grader, promoting the fact that they are indeed more intelligent.

Morphologically, octopuses have exceptional eye sight. They cannot see in colour like humans can however, they have no blind spot and can see a full 360 degrees, which makes them have more advanced eyesight than humans do (Byrne et al. 2006). This allows octopuses to choose which arm is closest to the object they want to grasp instead of choosing a limb on the other side of their body (Byrne et al. 2006).

http://biol1210.trubox.ca/wp-content/uploads/sites/84/2016/04/Octopus-Red-Arm.jpg. 2016. [accessed 2016 Apr 4]

When it comes to movement and coordination, the motor skills of an octopus tend to be better than that of a developing fifth grader. In order for their eight limbs to not become entwined, octopuses have many neurons, a total of 500 million large neurons throughout the body the majority of which are found in their arms. Furthermore, octopuses can and have shown limb preferences, which is something that not many animals that have multiple limb pairs usually exhibit (Byrne et al. 2006). Having limb preference is believed to be partially linked to octopus’ vision abilities (Byrne et al. 2006). Octopuses can move in any direction, and they have an overall higher self/physical awareness then a child who is still developing and growing into their own body.

Similar to humans, an octopus can move in a point to point motion by temporarily turning their arms into quasi-jointed structures, which means creating three different bends to act as joints, thus reducing the degrees of freedom problem (Sumbre 2005). This creates some stiffness which allows them to have better control over their arms. Octopuses have suction cups all over their arms which is what they use to grasp their food. They create a pincer grasp between any two suckers on their arms, which is the same motion humans do with their thumb and fingers (Borrell 2009). An octopus is able to dynamically change the organization of their quasi-jointed structure depending on where their sucker is positioned (Sumbre 2005). It is amazing how an octopus can adapt in this way without the help of many mechanisms we have as humans.

https://www.google.ca/search?q=octopus&rls=com.microsoft:en-CA:IE-Address&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj5oM3XgvTLAhXIsIMKHQe3BIIQ_AUIBygB&biw=1699&bih=851#tbm=isch&q=octopus+sucker&imgrc=JUxmjHDvGxApPM%3A. 2016. [accessed 2016 Apr 4]

Along with their morphological advantages, octopuses have impressive cognitive abilities. Scientists and researchers alike have been able to condition and teach octopuses how to solve simple puzzles and mazes, according to the journal of Jennifer A. Mather, under the title of the Cephalopod Specialities. They discovered areas of their brains that allow for more complex functions, by storing away “learned information”, such as simple puzzle solving skills. The neutral substrate generates the consciousness octopus need in order to develop and apply these skills (Mather et al 2013). As a result, octopus have the ability to problem solve and plan.

Their memories can be extensive as well. A study entitled Learning and memory in Octopus vulgaris by I. Zarella et al, talks and compares their memory to that of a human. Octopus can store and recall memory like humans. They also have the ability remember both short and long term memory. Their memory ability aids in helping them learn how to problem-solve and plan. Their long-term memory tends to be activity dependent. Once they have been taught then it is easy for them to remember. It is not so different from average school-aged children, who must go through the motions and learning in order to store it away for later.

Through behavioural patterns, morphological innovations, and cognitive abilities, our research suggests that octopuses contain abilities equal to and greater than that of a fifth grader. They know how to respond to their environment, hunt for food, and survive. Physically, they can grasp things with their “hands” and see with their camera-like eyes (Albertin et al 2015), both of which do not come with ease for humans until a little after birth. Octopuses, like your average fifth-grader, can be taught. They pick up on skills and can store them away for future reference. If they continue to adapt and grow this way, octopuses have the potential to become even smarter than a fifth-grader.


Hellllloooo? Photo by Eric March/Upworthy.

At least, that's what an octopus in Germany did, just to mess with aquarium employees. Once he figured out that shooting water at an overhead spotlight would cause the simple humans below to scramble around like chickens with their heads cut off, that's exactly what he did. Again and again and again.

Yes, for these whimsically sadistic creatures, life is a laugh track, and we are the punchline.


What Playful Animals Can Teach Us About The Biology Of Fun

Play and fun, though seemingly purposeless, are fundamental aspects of the human experience.

It wouldn't be a stretch to say that we're wired for play. But why? By definition, play is an activity without purpose or aim -- but it does have important implications for learning and development.

We can look to the animal kingdom to see how fundamental play is to human nature, and to understand why we might have evolved to seek out and enjoy fun. In a new special issue of the journal Current Biology, scientists share insights on fun and play in various animal species in order to shed light on the importance of amusement in our everyday lives.

"The brain activity associated with ‘having fun’ presumably leads in some way to activation of reward centers in the brain. This would give a proximate explanation for why we pursue fun, but why has this reward-relationship evolved in the first place?" Geoffrey North, editor of Current Biology, writes in an editorial. "What evolutionary advantage is there to engaging in the kind of activities we associate with fun? As usual with an evolutionary question it is helpful to take a broad look at what appear to be similar behaviors in other species -- in particular, to consider fun in other animals, and what functions it might have that could contribute to their evolutionary fitness."

As North insists, fun can be an important area of inquiry in biology, "touching on important issues of how we learn to interact with the world."

Here are some fascinating insights on the biology of play.

Fun is functional.

Feeling pleasure is part of a mechanism used to ensure animal fitness. It's a way for them to safely and enjoyably practice important skills, such as agility and fighting skills.

"Play is evolution's way of making sure animals acquire and perfect valuable skills in circumstances of relative safety," writes biologist Richard Byrne.

Specific types of play can also contribute to the development of cognitive skills that might not immediately be obvious. For instance, baboons have been observed teasing cattle by pulling their tails when the cows are behind a wire fence and therefore can't retaliate. Byrne suggests, because our enjoyment of teasing comes from imaging how the victim feels, that baboons may possibly have some theory of mind ability not yet recognized by scientists.

Similarly, elephants like to chase harmless animals, seemingly for their own enjoyment. Although we're not sure why they do this, it may also be that they are practicing some sort of cognitive skill, such as theory of mind.

Dolphins play, but not in the way we think they do.

Dolphins are often taken to be playful creatures because of their ever-present smiles, which, as Dr. Vincent Janik points out, is a "feature of their anatomy they have no control over."

While jumping in the surf and chasing one another may not exactly be play activities for dolphins, the sea mammals do enjoy fun in other ways. Biologists have noted that dolphins often stop what they are doing when large ships approach, in order to ride in the bow waves of the ship, only to return to where they were after the boat has passed. "Dolphins clearly do seem to spend time playing," Janik writes.

Some reptiles like to have a good time.

Lizards, turtles and crocodiles have all been found to exhibit convincing evidence of play, according to biologist Gordan Burghardt, although there are relatively few examples overall of play in reptiles and amphibians. Komodo dragons engage in "complex interactions with objects," similar to the behavior of dogs. Aquatic Nile short-shelled turtles, too, enjoy bouncing basketballs and floating bottles.

Octopuses may be the only celaphods that play.

While most cephalopods have not been observed to exhibit play-like behavior, there are some documented instances of play in two species of octopus. Biologists have found that these two types of octopus tend to engage in play when confronted with foreign objects.

"When encountering a novel non-food object, Octopus vulgaris shows a sequence of behaviors that moves from a 'What is this object?' exploratory behaviour to playful 'What can I do with this object?' interactions, involving manipulative behaviors such as pushing, pulling and towing," writes biologist Sarah Zylinski. "I have watched a captive Octopus bimaculoides. pounce on a fiddler crab and then release it unharmed, repeating this release and recapture many times over, as a cat might with a mouse, and other people who have spent time observing octopuses have similar anecdotes of play-like behaviors."

Even birds have the capacity for fun.

Neurobiologists studying birds have found that the avian brain may experience pleasure and reward similar to how the mammalian brain does. If birds are capable of experiencing pleasure, they argue, then they are also capable of having fun.

Play, though relatively uncommon in birds, has been observed in crows and parrots. The play of these two species is similar to what has been observed in primates -- "elaborate acrobatics, manipulating objects, and different types of social play, including play fighting," write Dr. Nathan Emery and Dr. Nicola Clayton of University College London.

Singing may also be a form of play in these birds, Emery and Clayton suggest.

Human infants like clowning around.

Infants form a sense of humor by clowning around and noticing how others respond to absurd behavior, according to psychologists Vasu Reddy and Gina Mireault. In fact, infants joke around before they can even speak or walk -- and a baby's laughter can provide us with important insights on how they see the world. Infants react to "clowning" behavior, such as pulling hair and blowing raspberries, can show us that they are aware of others' intentions.

"As [infants] discover others' reactions and, indeed, others' minds, they also discover the meaning of 'funny', a construct that varies across and within cultures, regions, families, and even dyads," write Reddy and Mireault. "Infants become attuned to the nuances in humour through their social relationships, which create the practice of contexts of humorous exchange."


How octopus develops its imitation skill? - Biology


OCTOPUS (OCTOPUS IP, FP7-ICT 2007.8.5, FET Proactive, Embodied Intelligence, Grant agreement no. 231608, 2009-2013) is an Integrating Project funded by the European Commission under the 7 th Framework Programme (FP7), in the theme of the Future and Emerging Technologies (FET-Proactive).
OCTOPUS aims at investigating and understanding the key principles of the octopus body and brain, by building a soft 8-arm robot, able to move in water, to elongate its arms, to reach and grasp, and to locomote.
The octopus is a unique and paradigmatic example for bio-inspired soft robotics, because of its great motor capabilities and enhanced behavior, due to the particular muscular structure and sensory-motor system. Consequently, this marine invertebrate offers inspiration for the design and development of new soft actuation systems, new sensors, smart material, modeling and control systems.
The OCTOPUS Integrating Project is not focused only on the study and imitation of one octopus arm, but on the study of the whole octopus body and how its eight arms are coordinated in manipulation and locomotion tasks. This project is expected to achieve new science and new technology.
The new technologies expected to result concern actuation (soft actuators), sensing (distributed flexible tactile sensors), control and robot architectures (distributed control, coordination of many degree of freedom), materials (with variable stiffness), mechanisms (soft-bodied structures), kinematics models.
The final robotic octopus will be capable of locomotion on different substrates, of dexterous manipulation by coordinating the flexible eight arms, or of anchoring in order to exert forces on external environment varying arms stiffness.
An interdisciplinary team of roboticists, engineers, mathematicians, biologists and neuroscientists, works in OCTOPUS.
The project is coordinated by the Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna (Pisa, Italy), and involve 6 european partners:
- The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HUJI,Jerusalem, Israel)
- The Weizmann Institute of Science (Weizmann, Rehovot, Israel)
- The University of Zurich (UZH, Zurich, Switzerland)
- The Italian Institute of Science (IIT, Genova, Italy)
- The University of Reading (UREAD, Reading, United Kingdom)
- The Foundation for Research and Technologies (FORTH, Heraklion, Crete, Greece)

Bioengineering and biological methods are applied to study, measure and model octopus performance, with results of new scientific data beyond the state of the art, as well as novel design principles and specifications for robotics purpose.
On the other side, bio-inspiration offers the possibility to use robotics and engineering approaches to contribute to insights into fundamental biological issues for scientific research.
The collaboration between engineering and biological sciences raises the possibility to reach new scientific and technological breakthroughs.
The project is already advancing the state of the art in soft robotics (for new technologies, soft actuators, sensorized skin, simulation models for continuum structures, control architectures), as well as in other disciplines, namely biology and neuroscience, in the area related to the study of the octopus.
The animal-like robots offer the possibility from one side to take inspiration from nature to build up new advanced technologies, which operate with better performance in difficult or normally impracticable and unstructured environments.
From the other side, biomimetics robots give the possibility to biologists and neurophysiologists to study animal functions and behaviors with physical model, for new scientific results.


Recent News

Female octopuses stretch further

October 30- November 1, 2012

IEEE Spectrum: Robotic Octopus Takes First Betentacled Steps

New Scientist: Born to be Viral: Robot octopus shakes your hand

The Economist: Zoobotics. A new generation of animal-like robots is about to emerge from the laboratory


How Octopuses Avoid Getting Tangled Around Themselves

Scientists have often pondered over how the eight-armed octopus avoids getting tangled around itself. This mystery was particularly perplexing given that each tentacle is lined with hundreds of suckers that are strong enough to stick to almost anything. Also, unlike animals with rigid skeletons, the mollusks have no idea where their arms are at any given moment.

Now some researchers from Israel's Hebrew University of Jerusalem may have finally solved the puzzle. They believe that whenever the octopuses sense their own skin, they release a chemical signal that temporarily disables the suckers.

The team of scientists led by the University's neurobiologist Nir Nesher, were first tipped off to this well-kept secret, when they noticed that the suckers on amputated octopus arms, which remain active for up to an hour after being severed and even try pick up food for a phantom mouth, never stick onto their own or the amputated arm of any other octopus. Curious, they conducted a lab experiment using twenty one amputated arms that were still active. Sure enough, none tried to grasp the other.

However when they removed the skin from a couple of the arms, the suckers on the others immediately came alive and reached out for them. This led the researchers to suspect that the octopus released a tactile or chemical signal, which automatically shut down the suckers, whenever it sensed one of its own hands.

To verify their theory, the researchers conducted a second laboratory experiment whereby they coated two Petri dishes - One with octopus skin extract and the other with a fish skin extract. They then tested each with octopus amputated arms that were still active. What they discovered was that the force required to separate the amputated arm from the Petri dish coated with the octopus skin extract was twenty times weaker than that needed to separate it from the one containing the fish skin extract.

Nesher and his team then took the experiment one step further by offering live octopuses, the amputated arms. The results were mixed. In some cases, the octopus grabbed them just like they would any other prey, while in others, they ignored them completely. Upon analyzing the results, the researchers discovered that the cannibalistic animals had avoided the amputated arms that had once belonged to them, but happily grabbed onto the ones from other members of its own species.

The findings from all these experiments has led the team who published their research in the scientific journal Current Biology on April 24th, to conclude that octopuses have a general tendency not to grip their own skin. However when necessary, its brain can override that reflex , something that happens when the animal decides to prey off a member of its own species. Nesher believes the findings will help scientists engineer better soft-bodied robots - Ones that can function efficiently without getting tangled around themselves.

This is the not the first time the Octopi has impressed scientists. These highly intelligent cephalopods with razor sharp memories have been known to create shelters from coconut shells, maneuver through mazes and even, try escape from their tanks!


Critical Evaluation

The social learning approach takes thought processes into account and acknowledges the role that they play in deciding if a behavior is to be imitated or not. As such, SLT provides a more comprehensive explanation of human learning by recognizing the role of mediational processes.

For example, Social Learning Theory is able to explain many more complex social behaviors (such as gender roles and moral behavior) than models of learning based on simple reinforcement.

However, although it can explain some quite complex behavior, it cannot adequately account for how we develop a whole range of behavior including thoughts and feelings. We have a lot of cognitive control over our behavior and just because we have had experiences of violence does not mean we have to reproduce such behavior.

It is for this reason that Bandura modified his theory and in 1986 renamed his Social Learning Theory, Social Cognitive Theory (SCT), as a better description of how we learn from our social experiences.

Some criticisms of social learning theory arise from their commitment to the environment as the chief influence on behavior. It is limiting to describe behavior solely in terms of either nature or nurture and attempts to do this underestimate the complexity of human behavior. It is more likely that behavior is due to an interaction between nature (biology) and nurture (environment).

Social learning theory is not a full explanation for all behavior. This is particularly the case when there is no apparent role model in the person’s life to imitate for a given behavior.

The discovery of mirror neurons has lent biological support to the theory of social learning. Although research is in its infancy the recent discovery of "mirror neurons" in primates may constitute a neurological basis for imitation. These are neurons which fire both if the animal does something itself, and if it observes the action being done by another.

How to reference this article:

How to reference this article:

McLeod, S. A. (2016, Febuary 05). Bandura - social learning theory. Simply Psychology. https://www.simplypsychology.org/bandura.html

APA Style References

Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundations of thought and action: A social cognitive theory. Prentice-Hall, Inc.

Bandura, A. (1977). Social learning theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Bandura, A. Ross, D., & Ross, S. A. (1961). Transmission of aggression through the imitation of aggressive models. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 63, 575-582

How to reference this article:

How to reference this article:

McLeod, S. A. (2016, Febuary 05). Bandura - social learning theory. Simply Psychology. https://www.simplypsychology.org/bandura.html

This workis licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

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