Pharyngula

You’ve got to be impressed with the cephalopod-butchering skills of this dolphin. Especially be sure to check out the gallery of grisly photos.

I know, I like cephalopods. But I eat them, too!

Comments

  1. #1 firemancarl
    January 29, 2009

    Ugh, I have been wondering what happened to our cuttlefish, and now *sniff* I know…. :-(

  2. #2 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 29, 2009

    Oh no. Not OUR Poet Laureate Cuttlefish?!?!?!

  3. #3 Wowbagger
    January 29, 2009

    “It could just be that Australian dolphins are smart,” she says.

    Ha! Suck it, non-Australian dolphins.

  4. #4 caoimh
    January 29, 2009

    Given that it’s New Scientist, it’s probably misreported.

  5. #5 LisaJ
    January 29, 2009

    Wow, that’s pretty impressive. A lot of work too, and puts my ‘laborious’ breakfast routine into perspective. I guess I should stop whining to myself now about how much effort it will take to walk to my laboratory’s kitchen to boil some water for my oatmeal.

  6. #6 JCsuperstar
    January 29, 2009

    Is the “shaking of the cuttlefish” step skipped if it releases its ink prior to death?

  7. #7 Just my Opinion
    January 29, 2009

    Should we be sending traffic to the New Scientist website?

  8. #8 Blake Stacey
    January 29, 2009

    Ahem.

    A dolphin may wish
    For a cuttlefish dish
    In the waters with old Davy Jones;
    See, they find cuttlefishes
    Are truly delicious
    Except for the cuttlefish bones.
    They also may think
    That the cuttlefish ink
    Is unpleasant, or nasty, or mean;
    We infer this because
    In a Gulf in South Oz
    They’ve developed a dolphin cuisine!

    Etc.

  9. #9 Happy Cetacean
    January 29, 2009

    Cetacean vs. cephalopod, cetacean wins! This makes Happy Cetacean happy.

  10. #10 Ric
    January 29, 2009

    Noooooooo! Leave Cuttlefish alone. I like his poetry. :)

  11. #11 Cuttlefish, OM
    January 29, 2009

    Hmph. “Perfect Cuttlefish Meal” indeed. I can think of plenty better meals for this cuttlefish…

    A dolphin may wish
    For a cuttlefish dish
    In the waters with old Davy Jones;
    See, they find cuttlefishes
    Are truly delicious
    Except for the cuttlefish bones.
    They also may think
    That the cuttlefish ink
    Is unpleasant, or nasty, or mean;
    We infer this because
    In a Gulf in South Oz
    They?ve developed a dolphin cuisine!

    [more at http://digitalcuttlefish.blogspot.com/2009/01/perfect-cuttlefish-meal-or-perhaps-not.html

    Dang. I see Blake beat me to it.

  12. #12 Blake Stacey
    January 29, 2009

    Don’t send traffic to New Scientist! Send those pageviews to the Cuttlefish instead!

  13. #13 RamblinDude
    January 29, 2009
  14. #14 Jackal
    January 29, 2009

    Slightly related: is it cruel to kill shellfish by boiling it? Do they suffer?

  15. #15 Lotharloo
    January 29, 2009

    Does anyone know good resources on dolphin intelligence? How do they stack up against our ancestors in terms of intelligence? I would really appreciate any pointers!

  16. #16 Mrs Tilton
    January 29, 2009

    Lotharloo @15,

    Does anyone know good resources on dolphin intelligence?

    Here, this might be a good place to start your reading.

  17. #17 jennyxyzzy
    January 29, 2009

    Ha! It even made the front page on the website of Australi’s best newspaper :-)

    http://www.smh.com.au/

  18. #18 NateL
    January 29, 2009

    Are crayfish counted as shellfish, cause they don’t seem to enjoy it!

  19. #19 Tualha
    January 29, 2009

    Expect to see a video from Ray Comfort on how the dolphin’s snout was perfectly designed to eviscerate cuttlefish :p

  20. #20 Lotharloo
    January 29, 2009

    Mrs Tilton:

    Right.
    Very funny.
    EL O EL.
    AR O EF EL.

  21. #21 Hugh M.
    January 29, 2009

    ^^ So long and thanks for all the fish?

  22. #22 David Marjanovi?, OM
    January 29, 2009

    is it cruel to kill shellfish by boiling it? Do they suffer?

    I don’t know of evidence to the contrary…

  23. #23 J.D.
    January 29, 2009

    Hmm, something I didn’t know. Cuttlefish have bones? Never thought of cephalapods as having internal bones, learn something new everyday….

  24. #24 S.Scott
    January 29, 2009

    “Despite those nets of tuna fleets
    We thought that most of you were sweet”.

  25. #25 Prometheus
    January 29, 2009

    Cuttlefish control thousands of chromatophores .

    Mollusks have ganglia and nerves.

    If your definition of pain is associated with a central nervous system alone, sure they suffer.

    If your definition of pain is associated with regulation by a cerebral cortex and limbic system then no.

    I suppose the answer is they hurt but not the same way you and I do. So sympathy is probably better directed at the dolphin (or PZ) finding something delicious than the cuttlefish having a bad day.

  26. #26 Hugh M.
    January 29, 2009

    J.D.
    Not exactly bone in the skeletal sense. I think more of a rigid, porous flotation device. They wash up on the beaches all around S.A. and are often used as chew toys? for parrots and the like. We used to collect them and crumble them into our chicken feed as a calcium source.

  27. #27 Sven DiMilo
    January 29, 2009

    It’s not really a “bone.” It’s an internalized shell homologue, made of calcium carbonate instead of phosphate. They used to sell them at pet shops for parakeets to mutilate. Calcium supplement, I guess.

  28. #28 windy
    January 29, 2009

    Slightly related: is it cruel to kill shellfish by boiling it? Do they suffer?

    If you mean clams and other bivalves, they don’t have anything we’d call a brain, just a few ganglia, so probably their capacity for suffering is limited (but maybe that’s just our brain-chauvinist assumption). But boiling is not necessarily crueler than other ways of killing them.

  29. #29 Andyo
    January 29, 2009

    Mrs Tilton, RE: The Onion link.

    You might remember the kid who actually used echolocation. While looking for the news piece I came across a whole documentary made about him. Sadly, I also learned he just died a few days ago.

  30. #30 Glen Davidson
    January 29, 2009

    Next, I’d like to see octopuses killing and eating nurse sharks.

    Not so much for reciprocity, as that cephalopod abilities seem more strange than even the deft tactics of the dolphin preparing the cuttlefish for ingestion.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/6mb592

  31. #31 littlejohn
    January 29, 2009

    As a journalist (yeah, I know you all hate me), I’d like to thank you for spelling grisly correctly. Honestly, it’s right up there with accommodate, supersede and minuscule among words virtually everyone misspells (add “misspell”)
    How many of you could honestly say you could correctly spell those words?
    I await your wrath.

  32. #32 JohnnieCanuck
    January 29, 2009

    Actually, thanks littlejohn. I enjoyed your post.

    I’m not the speller I used to be. To much exposure to incorrect spelling in the print media. Or so I tell myself. Ongoing loss of memory cells might be more accurate.

  33. #33 Tex
    January 29, 2009

    How many of you could honestly say you could correctly spell those words?
    I await your wrath.

    Not wrath, really, just pity. As Andrew Jackson said, “It is a damn poor mind that can think of only one way to spell a word.’

  34. #34 Tex
    January 29, 2009

    How many of you could honestly say you could correctly spell those words?
    I await your wrath.

    Not wrath, really, just pity. As Andrew Jackson said, “It is a damn poor mind that can think of only one way to spell a word.’

  35. #35 Happy Trollop
    January 29, 2009

    littlejohn@31

    You’re not alone and I don’t hate you. I’m also one of those spelling obsessives whom non-pedants regard with contempt. In fact, I once sent a finger-wagging letter to the editor of my small town newspaper for describing a local discovery as “grizzly”. Funny enough, that letter never appeared on the op/eds…

    I get my comeuppance often though, because of my terrible typing skillz. Yes, yes; that’s it. It’s poor typing!

  36. #36 Strider
    January 29, 2009

    Poor spelling is my bête noire and I know it’s superficial of me but I can’t help it. So I’m right up there with you pedants; not that I’d go defacing historical signs or anything…
    BTW, I’m SO glad we’re back to anonymous commenting!

  37. #37 recovering catholic
    January 29, 2009

    Hugh M.: And note that in the final drawing the cuttlebone is in fact shown floating up towards the sea’s surface…

  38. #38 Sven DiMilo
    January 29, 2009

    Cool. I didn’t know that cuttlebone was such a flexible buoyancy-control organ. See if this link works; or else feed “cuttlebone float” to the google, find p 247 of Jurd’s “Instant Notes in Animal Biology” via google books, and read the last full paragraph; very cool. It’s not clear to me, though, how the spaces within the “bone” get filled with gaseous nitrogen. Schmidt-Nielsen probably talks about it someplace.

  39. #39 Longtime Lurker
    January 29, 2009

    The six-step procedure gets rid of the invertebrate’s unappetising ink

    Proof that those dolphins aren’t that smart.

    Oh, dolphins, is there anything your marvelous nimble snouts can?t poke?

    Whew, RamblinDude, I was afraid your link would be more like this:
    http://archives.cnn.com/2002/WORLD/europe/06/04/uk.dolphin/index.html

  40. #40 Cath the Canberra Cook
    January 29, 2009

    De gustibus non est disputandum, Lurker.

  41. #41 'Tis Himself
    January 29, 2009

    How many of you could honestly say you could correctly spell those words?
    I await your wrath.

    Since I am erudite to the point of being pedantic, I can speel the english gooder then most peepul.

  42. #42 Wowbagger
    January 29, 2009

    I await your wrath.

    As long as you’re pronouncing it as if it were spelled ‘roth’ (like the actor Tim, the writer Philip, the screenwriter Eric or the director Eli) and not as if it rhymes with ‘math’.

  43. #43 Stygian Lamprey
    January 29, 2009

    nom nom nom
    i iz finished
    u can has teh cuttlebone

  44. #44 pablo
    January 29, 2009

    This just in from Ingrid Newkirk… Cephalopods are now called “Sea Bunnies”.

    How do you feel about eating them now PZ?

  45. #45 Ingrid Newkirk
    January 29, 2009

    A cuttlefish is a ctenophore is a polychaete is a boy.

  46. #46 kamaka
    January 29, 2009

    The foray into “how did they figure out how to do that?’ is pertinent, but I’m hardly suprised. Lot’s of critters (crows, parrots, octopi) have problem solving skills.

    This is conjecture, but I would think this trick is “common knowledge”. I’ll bet that cuttlebone doesn’t go through cooperatively.

    accommodate, miniscule, success, pertinent, existence

    grisly=fail

  47. #47 kamaka
    January 29, 2009

    grisly=me fail

  48. #48 The Chemist
    January 29, 2009

    Cannibal.

  49. #49 Hugh M.
    January 29, 2009

    Littlejohn
    ^^ Does it still count as a misspelling if I recognise the mistake and correct it with a dictionary?

    Sven
    Thank you, that’s an interesting link. I had noticed that the one end had a brownish stain, but had not known why. Excellent.

    Lurker
    ^^ For a moment there, I thought that was a link to Freddy the friendly dolphin.

  50. #50 kamaka
    January 29, 2009

    Does it still count as a misspelling if I recognise the mistake and correct it with a dictionary?

    Imho,meh sezz noes.

  51. #51 Jim Thomerson
    January 29, 2009

    I’ve only caught cephalopods to eat on one ocasion. I rolled them in a mixture of flour and cornmeal and fried them up in hot lard. I’d like to see dolphin duplicate that feat!

    On dolphin intelligence. There is a science fiction story where advanced aliens visit earth. They are pleasant and congenial, but they are actually here to visit the dolphins.

  52. #52 Andyo
    January 29, 2009

    Uh-oh. This might be a sign before the “so long, and thanks for all the fish” bit. Anybody see any big yellow spaceships lately?

  53. #53 Wowbaqger
    January 29, 2009

    Anybody see any big yellow spaceships lately?

    Appearing with a bang that drove your ears six feet into your skull?

  54. #54 Crudely Wrott
    January 29, 2009

    The dolphin exemplifies the level of skill that I, and, I am sure all of you, seek to obtain. I work with simple tools, primarily my limbs and manipulating parts, to extract from my surroundings something of value. While the dolphin does it for individual survival (and so do I, as a matter of necessity), the use of inherent talent and learned skills is a good bet, for cetaceans and humans and all those other critters too.

    Well, at least my customers appreciate my talents, and the fact that I don’t eviscerate and eat them. I try to leave them happier than they were before. Does that make me like Jesus?

  55. #55 Peter Ashby
    January 30, 2009

    Actually Littlejohn those are easy, especially accommodate since it has to accommodate two double letters. But then I was a spelling prodigy in my yoof.

  56. #56 Peter Ashby
    January 30, 2009

    Actually Littlejohn those are easy, especially accommodate since it has to accommodate two double letters. But then I was a spelling prodigy in my yoof.

  57. #57 Peter Ashby
    January 30, 2009

    Actually Littlejohn those are easy, especially accommodate since it has to accommodate two double letters. But then I was a spelling prodigy in my yoof.

  58. #58 Ragutis
    January 30, 2009

    Posted by: Jackal Author Profile Page | January 29, 2009 9:26 AM

    Slightly related: is it cruel to kill shellfish by boiling it? Do they suffer?

    If you mean lobster or crab, sticking them in the freezer is the way to go. If you’re going to split a lobster, say for grilling, then about 30 mins should “anesthetize” the bug. Take it out and if there’s no movement, quickly split it head end first. If you’re going to boil or steam, leave it in the freezer for closer to an hour to ensure it doesn’t become responsive before death.

    Pain? Suffering? First, that would probably require a discussion settling on a definition of “pain”. Second, you’ll get debate on both sides. The lobster industry will cite studies that conclude the nervous systems are far too simple. PETA will provide some that equate every boiling with the torment Jeanne D’Arc or Giordano Bruno felt. It’s doubtfully going to be anything like what we would experience as “suffering”, but it’ll certainly register as a negative stimulus to be escaped or avoided.

    Regardless, pain or negative stimulus… the kindest thing would be to render them insensible with some time in the freezer before they go under the knife or in the pot.

  59. #59 Andyo
    January 30, 2009

    Ugh, “bugs” is exactly right. I call hypocrite anyone who eats sea crustaceans, but are not even willing to try insects. Or at least land crustaceans. Hypocrites, I say!

  60. #61 Sili
    January 31, 2009

    Lurker,

    That’s no snout.

  61. #62 Sven DiMilo
    January 31, 2009

    I like Ragutis’s advice. All studies of which I’m aware suggest that cold knocks out neural synapses first. No synaptic transmission, nothing even analogous to “pain.”

  62. #63 Matt Heath
    January 31, 2009

    Andyo @60: Irrational squickedness=/= hypocrisy. It would only be hypocrisy if they asserted that others should eat no insects.

  63. #64 Phill
    January 31, 2009

    I don’t see why any living creature should be killed and
    eaten Why can’t they be left alone They are not harming
    you It is very selfish and is not necessary
    There is plenty of plant life on this planet which is
    more than enough for any person to eat
    Animals should be respected and not abused or used
    in any way

  64. #65 hery
    January 25, 2010

    think more of a rigid, porous flotation device