Fact Du Jour – August 8, 2019 – Nautilus – The Lesser Known Cephalopod…

Anyone remember the character Donny from The Big Lebowski? You might remember him best as from the things he DIDN’T say in the 1998 film! Or, rather, the things John Goodman’s “Walter” character frequently said to Donny:


John Goodman as Walter and Steve Buscemi as Donny in The Big Lebowski

If the animal class Cephalopoda had their own “Donny,” it would most certainly be the Nautilus!


Chances are when you think of “cephalopods,” you don’t think of the Nautilus (aka Nautilus belauensis) first!

Why? The Nautilus, unlike its more “flashy” cousins the Octopus, Squid and Cuttlefish, can’t change colors. Yes, they have “tentacles,” like their better known “cousins.” What else makes them kind of like Donny? Well, scientists say they’re not quite as intelligent as the Octopus, Squid and Cuttlefish, either. To invoke a couple of other pop culture references, maybe the Nautilus would be like the Penny in Big Bang Theory – or the Fredo in the Corleone family. That’s OK for an animal scientists have described as a “living fossil!” From Wikipedia:

They have a seemingly simple brain, not the large complex brains of octopus, cuttlefish and squid, and had long been assumed to lack intelligence. But the cephalopod nervous system is quite different from that of other animals, and recent experiments have shown not only memory, but a changing response to the same event over time.

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