That is the kind of important question we ponder all the time, and in a demonstration of the superiority of empirical data over philosophizing, here is a video to show the answer.


  1. #1 JD
    April 13, 2009

    That Cuttlefish, obviously, has not heard the good news of the gospels yet.

  2. #2 Captain Mike
    April 13, 2009

    Interesting, but it doesn’t give any insight into the problem facing every true scientist: the Powerpuff Girls vs. Superman debate.

  3. #3 blf
    April 13, 2009

    The cuttlefish was trying to save its friend, the octopus, from the nasty mammal. However, the octopus, a very clever animal, already had a plan for dealing with the driver. (The plan involved bacon.) Consequently, the octopus is now plotting revenge on its “friend”. (This also involves bacon.)

  4. #4 Desert Son
    April 13, 2009

    I’m terrified beyond the capacity for rational thought, Ray. [/Spengler]

    No kings,


  5. #5 Bob O'H
    April 13, 2009

    Eh? it wasn’t attacking the octopus, it was saving it from those cruel, taunting, vertebrates.

  6. #6 daveau
    April 13, 2009

    Best 2 out of 3?

  7. #7 Kraid
    April 13, 2009

    “Nature red in tooth and tentacle.”

  8. #8 Lee Brimmicombe-Wood
    April 13, 2009

    That’s an impressive piece of pwnage.

  9. #9 Glen Davidson
    April 13, 2009

    Whichever one can swallow the other, with only a stray tentacle or two still sticking out.

    Glen D

  10. #10 Desert Son
    April 13, 2009

    Just realized I sorta bungled that quote. Egon was talking to Venkman, not Stantz in that scene.

    Terrified beyond the capacity to correctly remember lines from Ghostbusters as well, it would seem.

    Off to hunt for coffee.

    No kings,


  11. #11 flaq
    April 13, 2009

    it’s pretty obvious that the octopus was using that c-wrench to open up the plug at the bottom of the ocean. The cuttlefish was merely acting in self-defense.

  12. #12 SaraJ
    April 13, 2009

    I can’t help it… I felt a pang of pity for the poor octopus. But I am glad the cuttlefish had a delicious lunch.

  13. #13 Chris Davis
    April 13, 2009

    I blame Original Sin. Before The Fall, those two would have browsed on seaweed together in mutual molluscan harmony.


  14. #14 'Tis Himself
    April 13, 2009

    There was the poor, innocent octupus, minding its own business, not bothering anyone, when suddenly a vicious, nefarious cuttlefish comes along and snuffs our hero. Remember, folks, whenever you’re investigating some piece of machinery to see if its edible, watch out for reprobate cuttlefish.

  15. #15 schism
    April 13, 2009

    If a gazelle is drinking out of a pond, and a crocodile lunges out of the pond and immediately kills the gazelle, can you really say a fight occurred?

  16. #16 Eidolon
    April 13, 2009

    Kinda reminds me of night dives where pointing out some animal with a flashlight seals it’s fate as dinner for some other creature.

    Gotta pay attention ALL the time. Get preoccupied with something neat and POW!

  17. #17 FatherNature
    April 13, 2009

    Evidence for another animal that uses tools.

  18. #18 blueelm
    April 13, 2009

    Cuttlefish FTW. Not so much a “fight” though.

  19. #19 blueelm
    April 13, 2009

    holy crud? How’d I get my name back? Do I have two typekey accounts!? I must have joined eons ago and then forgotten which email I used.

  20. #20 Don
    April 13, 2009

    The wrench…use the wrench…Too late, dammit.

  21. #21 Jason Thibeault
    April 13, 2009

    Holy freaking crap. It didn’t even stand a chance. That wasn’t a fight, it was ownage.

  22. #22 Mena
    April 13, 2009

    Alas, still no evidence about the winner of a Wiwaxia corrugata vs. Olenoides serratus fight. Better get back to working on that time machine…

  23. #23 Spyderkl
    April 13, 2009

    I see…not so much a “fight” as “teaming up with a diver to distract/obtain a lunch item”.

    #2: I think we all know who would win that one. Not even Superman is a match for three cute little girls with superpowers.

  24. #24 go.electrons
    April 13, 2009

    Eidolon, That has happened to me too. There was a tarpon that followed us everywhere on our night dives at a certain location. The flashlight beam touches a tasty morsel and CHOMP! Gone. Nothing left but scales.

  25. #25 Libbie
    April 13, 2009

    Not fair! She distracted the octopush with a shiny object!

  26. #26 Texas Reader
    April 13, 2009

    Testing 1,2,3!!
    I’ve always refused to comment anywhere where I had to register but this site is very important to me and if the registration cuts down on the wasted space from troll comments I’ll be happy.
    Oh, it’s great to take a Monday off from work!

  27. #27 Kevin Hunter
    April 13, 2009

    That was not a fight. That was an ambush. Unfortunate that nature rarely works in a fair deathmatch style…

    Also, this new comment thing isn’t too horrible.

  28. #28 HumanisticJones
    April 13, 2009

    That octopus was getting too close to revealing that the cephalopods have the ability to use tools. The cuttlefish did the only sensible thing and put the octopus down. Sacrifices must be made for the revolution.

  29. #29 kev_s
    April 13, 2009

    The octopus had just worked out what cool things it could make with the wrench in order to impress its mate, but it forgot a very important rule, “Look behind you!!” … and ended up helping the cuttlefish have more babies instead.
    Actually the cuttlefish is pretty astute because it realised it couldn’t eat the octopus while it was holding the wrench, so it waited until the wrench was out of the way. Not so stupid.

  30. #30 chgo_liz
    April 13, 2009

    Cue Cuttlefish with an appropriate and awesome epic poem retelling the brave saga in 3…2…1…

  31. #31 AdamK
    April 13, 2009

    I’m a cuttle fan, so I’m delighted for my team.

    (Mainly I’m testing my typekey registration.)

  32. #32 Verdelet
    April 13, 2009

    Heh! It reminded me of the submarine sequence in “Phantom Menace” where the Naboo sea creatures kept getting eaten by a bigger sea creature.

    “There’s always a bigger fish.”
    Qui-Gon Jinn

  33. #33 PGPWNIT
    April 13, 2009

    Who would have thought that something with such a cute name could be so mean.

  34. #34 malty
    April 13, 2009

    Pretty amazing to be able to witness a thing like that! BTW, I’m not a terrific fan of TypePad, so I hope this is at least a help to you.

  35. #35 LRA
    April 13, 2009

    Octopi are so amazing! They are smart and curious. I understand that a cuttlefish has got to eat, but it’s still sad to see an octopus die.


  36. #36 tsig
    April 13, 2009

    The squid was merely practicing it’s famous “attack from within” strategy. Last used by the South in the Civil War.

  37. #37 Typo180
    April 13, 2009

    Hah, I was just about to send this to you. You must have friends on reddit.

  38. #38 Sonic Screwdriver
    April 13, 2009

    The horror! The HORROR! I just ran out of Girlscout cookies!

    Oh and cuttlefish are dicks. Octopi could take them in a fair fight. WE DEMAND A REMATCH! (A rematch in which, of course, our side definitively wins.)

  39. #39 Just Plain Cliff
    April 13, 2009

    Never make the mistake of generalizing from a n of one.

  40. #40 knobody
    April 13, 2009

    the octopus, in the aquarium, with the wrench…no, wait, professor plum, in the lab, with the cuttlefish.

  41. #41 Helioprogenus
    April 13, 2009

    That’s impressive. The octopus was completely oblivious thanks to the distracting foreign object. Such is the cruelty of life. One minute, you’re palpating some strange object that you’ve never come across, trying to assess its relevance, then the next minute, you’re forced into the mouth of a cuttlefish. That’s a pretty large cuttlefish at that. I’m sure if the size ratio was reversed, the octopus would do the attacking. I salute you o great cuttlefish!

  42. #42 zaaron
    April 13, 2009

    OT, but did you all hear about Anthony Powell? Fan of VenomfangX, who made a well-known, widely-mocked video about how atheists are full of rage and are evil, etc., etc. He’s killed someone, and himself:

    What a terrible waste of life.

  43. #43 Stacy
    April 13, 2009

    I’m sorry for yopur loss. :-(

  44. #44 MikeB
    April 13, 2009

    Man I hope he doesn’t choke on it! That was plain amazing. I thought sharks were nasty.

    I welcome our new cuttlefish overlords.

  45. #45 Tiki Idyll
    April 13, 2009

    Not too surprising that the cuttlefish won. It’s the heavy artillery to the octopus’ footmen.

    PPG v. Superman, the PPG would kick some Kryptonian ass. Although the Sup’ probably wouldn’t fight back at all, considering he’s the ultimate all-American Boy Scout and wouldn’t hit (literal) girls.

  46. #46 Charles
    April 13, 2009

    better question…if a person jumps into a pool with 4 polar bears who would win?

    When people clearly try to select themselves out of the gene pool by such inexplicable acts of foolishness I say we should just let them?

    I did laugh at this shit though?maybe I wouldn?t have if there wasn?t a ?hedge and a fence to climb over before diving in?? Maybe she was going to discuss global warming with them?lol

  47. #47 Victor
    April 13, 2009

    The octopus had to go. It was about to reveal the ingredients of the cephalopod’s much coveted BBQ sauce.

  48. #48 Sili
    April 13, 2009

    Of course the PPGs would win. They’d have Supers locked up as a paedophile faster than you could say “BAD TOUCH! BAD TOUCH!

  49. #49 bootsy
    April 13, 2009

    Goodbye Turducken. Hello Cuttleamari.

  50. #50 Brownian, OM
    April 13, 2009

    Remember, folks, whenever you’re investigating some piece of machinery to see if it’s edible, watch out for reprobate cuttlefish.

    Boy, I couldn’t even begin to count the number of times Grandma Brownian drilled that one into my head.

  51. #51 Happy Tentacles
    April 13, 2009

    The Cuttle saw the Octopus showing far too much interest in evil mammalian technology and grabbed it before its innocent mind became contaminated by the works of these hairy-skinned land-dwelling inferior beings. It was all for the the good of the Cephalopod civilisation, tragic though it was to see those sad trailing tentacles . . .

  52. #52 Saskboy
    April 13, 2009

    I think the reaction of the diver was about as priceless.

    P.S. I only bothered to write this comment because I thought commenting was possible without signing into Typepad, and I was, unfortunately, wrong.

  53. #53 Sili
    April 13, 2009

    I’m actually starting to get disappoined at the lack of references to oral and tentacle sex.

  54. #54 Watchman
    April 13, 2009


    Now I know why my wife and kids are always leaving tools out in the yard!

  55. #55 Cuttlefish, OM
    April 13, 2009


    (disappears again)

    (thanks for all your kind words, people. I will be back eventually.)

  56. #56 Doctor Atlanits
    April 13, 2009

    Yes, the cousin Cuttlefish rescued the unsuspecting Octopus from the Human Diver. That’s why here in Atlantis we call the Cuttlefish the “St. Bernard of the Sea.”

    Well I do.

    Um, starting now.

    I think I still prefer

  57. #57 Laura
    April 13, 2009

    I’d rather see them mating, not fighting…
    *tries to look super creepy*

  58. #58 TX CHL Instructor
    April 13, 2009

    As I often get to remind the PETA crowd, “death by natural causes” in nature usually involves getting killed and eaten by a predator. Invariably with substantial angst on the part of the animal being killed and eaten.

  59. #59 Mu
    April 13, 2009

    What really surprised me was the cuttlefish “stealing” the octopus from the diver; the diver must be double or more the size of the cuttlefish, and it snatched it’s “pray” anyway.

  60. #60 'Tis Himself
    April 13, 2009

    TX CHL Instructor,

    I don’t believe any of us would disagree with that. What was your point?

  61. #61 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 13, 2009

    I will be back eventually.

    Great to hear!


    Cuttlefish wins the thread again.

  62. #62 Newfie
    April 13, 2009


  63. #63 uncle frogy
    April 13, 2009

    My guess would be that the Cuttlefish came upon the Octopus being observed using a human tool by a human and being recorded took the course for security reasons, less the octopus could be captured and examined, of destroying it to maintain the secrets until the true Rulers of Planet Water declare themselves.

  64. #64 unTheist
    April 13, 2009

    The noodliest one will win,.. obviously

  65. #65 Fernando
    April 13, 2009

    I hope the cuttlefish wins, to be catched by a fisherman!

    Because i like to eat them: on a grate, with onions, potatoes, and chopped parsley, acompanied by a good white wine.
    Delicious! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    On the other hand, i hate octopus, because i cant eat them!
    They make me nauseas. ๐Ÿ˜›

    PS: Sorry about that Professor Myers! ๐Ÿ˜€

  66. #66 Uncephalized
    April 13, 2009

    If octopods are our tentacled overlords, then cuttlefish are their shock troops, and we are all screwed.

  67. #67 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 13, 2009

    If a cuttlefish fought an octopus, who would win?

    the viewer

  68. #68 Indus The Science Kitten
    April 13, 2009

    Answer: it doesn’t matter because the sharks with the friggen lasers will show up once blood hits the water.

  69. #69 RickD
    April 13, 2009

    Sad to see that scientists have to ally with the cuttlefish to betray the poor octopi.

  70. #70 Leon
    April 13, 2009

    But what if the octopus was fighting the Cuttlefish of Cthulhu?

  71. #71 WillB
    April 13, 2009

    @42 Wow. I think that may be one of the saddest things about religious thinking. A combination of faith turning off critical thinking and some chemical imbalance in the brain can lead to any horrible behavior imaginable.

    How do the families deal with him killing this innocent and himself?
    How does his mother deal with his rants against black women?

    If only: people would learn to think critically and
    we had a better understanding of mental illness
    this would never need to happen.

  72. #72 CCW
    April 13, 2009

    Search YouTube for Giant “Octopus vs Shark”.
    That video diplays some serious ownage!

  73. #73 Benny the Icepick
    April 13, 2009

    I love that you can see the cuttlefish the entire time – the little weed blinking/breathing in the background.

  74. #74 MosesZD
    April 13, 2009

    Is there any bacon involved? Because I like bacon. I don’t much care for fighting.

  75. #75 mikecbraun
    April 13, 2009

    That…was…awesome! I think I’ve seen that in my nightmares before.

  76. #76 Menyambal
    April 13, 2009

    RickD says:

    Sad to see that scientists have to ally with the cuttlefish to betray the poor octopi.

    What? A construction diver happened to film two wild animals. There were no scientists involved, there was no alliance and no betrayal of the octopus. What the hell are you on about? People here at this science blog seem to be pitying the octopus. Are you serious, RickD?

    I was first impressed by the octopus, and how he seemed to be intelligently investigating the wrench. Then I was impressed by the drifting bunch of seaweed turning into a cuttlefish–that was amazing camouflage–and jetting away with the octopus, faster than the diver could swim. Wow!

  77. #77 Quidam
    April 13, 2009



    Accompanying this intellectually vacuous article by AN Wilson is a poll:

    Should creationism have a place in the curriculum?
    56% are saying yes 44% are saying no

  78. #78 dvrvm
    April 13, 2009

    hey, i just got an idea in evolutionary biology: 2 genes interact multiplicatively (i.e. the phenotype is lethal if both are on or off, the other two genotypes are viable). Is this enough for a speciation event?

  79. #79 RedPersephone
    April 13, 2009

    The octopus, on the seafloor, with the wr…. nevermind.

  80. #80 Kevin Hunter
    April 13, 2009

    That cuttlefish didn’t win. It was just transporting the octopus away from the humans before it gave away the secret location of Cthulu via super-secret monkey wrench communication skills.

  81. #81 MTS
    April 13, 2009

    I’m so incredibly glad I’m at the top of the food chain, and live in a sheltered environment, and so am unlikely ever to be eaten alive.

  82. #82 'Tis Himself
    April 13, 2009

    super-secret monkey wrench communication skills.

    That isn’t a monkey wrench, it’s a crescent wrench. <pedant>

  83. #83 No Guy in the Sky
    April 13, 2009

    We need to study the fighting skills of Octopus. That Octopus was obviously distracted, and the diver was in cahoots with the Cuttlefish. So to make it fair we should not feed the Octopus for a few days, so it is good and hungry. Make sure it weighs approximately the same as the combatant. Then place the Giant Octopus in a large solid cage with that diver that distracted the small octopus. Thunder Aquarium, the rules are simple. Two animals enter, one Enteroctopus leaves.

  84. #84 Pteryxx
    April 13, 2009

    What’s amazing is the entirely silent, visual threat escalation going on between these two highly communicative species. The cuttlefish’s flared attack pose induces nightmares – if I saw that thing drifting toward ME in a dark alley, the whitecoats’d have to scrape me off the asphalt from sheer terror. And the octupus turning suddenly seafloor-white and mottled was the quintessential visual equivalent of “OH SHI–“

  85. #85 shonny
    April 13, 2009

    You pinch my adjustable spanner, and see what will happen to you!

    Crescent is a brand, not a type of wrench, mistakenly used as a generic name.
    A monkey wrench is also called an ‘Englishman’ because of the poor design (like so many tools designed by the English).
    The proper adjustable spanner that any mechanic could use without being laughed out of the workshop was the Swedish design
    And you don’t pinch other’s tools, in particular not the possessive squid’s ones!

  86. #86 SAWells
    April 13, 2009

    I didn’t grasp until the fifth viewing that the cuttlefish didn’t come through the seaweed. That drifting lump of seaweed _is_ the cuttlefish right up until the Doom Tentacles erupt from within. I want a chainmail bathing suit.

  87. #87 Shadow
    April 13, 2009


    Isn’t the wrench used by monkey-boys and monkey-girls?

  88. #88 Jadehawk
    April 13, 2009

    that was not a fight, that was pure pwnage :-/

    Posted by: Cuttlefish, OM Author Profile Page | April 13, 2009 1:33 PM


    Cuttlefish wins the thread.

  89. #89 Jadehawk
    April 13, 2009

    That isn’t a monkey wrench, it’s a crescent wrench.

    actually, it’s an ape wrench


  90. #90 Booger
    April 13, 2009

    Cthulu pthagn, motherf*cker!

  91. #91 Jeanette
    April 13, 2009

    Huh? Just checking in. Yes, Cthulu lives. Ewww.

  92. #92 Fred the Hun
    April 13, 2009

    Awesome, but now I have to wonder how many times I have swum past some well camouflaged cephalopod in plain view.

  93. #93 DLC
    April 13, 2009

    Clearly the cuttlefish was designed better than the octopus. See, it’s all about Design!
    Even if it’s impossible to prove the designer exists . . .
    Oh wait… if the cuttlefish was designed better than the octopus, does that mean that . . . GASP! the Designer is imperfect ? ? ?

  94. #94 Free Knight
    April 13, 2009

    Clearly it was a sucker punch….. errr…. sucker strike…. errr sucker suck……

    The cuttlefish sucker sucked the suction cupped sucker?

  95. #95 Nomad
    April 13, 2009

    A little late for this sentiment by now, but I just have to say it..


    I figured the octopus would be the winner. I don’t know much about cuttlefish, but for whatever reason I figured the octopus would be the victor.

    The snatch and grab move was not what I was expecting to see.

  96. #96 Blue-eyed Videot
    April 13, 2009

    Excuse me for showing my Cuttlefishian ignorance, but I’m wondering just how the poor octopus was taken so fast. Rapid-acting paralytic venom in the cuttlefish’s bite? Crushed and/or smothered? Hash brownies? It didn’t appear to me that the octopus struggled at all. What gives?

  97. #97 Ted
    April 13, 2009

    A few more minutes and that octopus would have WIELDED that spanner in defense!

  98. #98 Fl bluefish
    April 14, 2009

    at #56….

    This place is a gold mine.

  99. #99 no2religion
    April 14, 2009


    Oh and for #53:

    I had a girlfriend that could swallow like that!

  100. #100 Lilly de Lure
    April 14, 2009

    Excuse me for showing my Cuttlefishian ignorance, but I’m wondering just how the poor octopus was taken so fast. Rapid-acting paralytic venom in the cuttlefish’s bite? Crushed and/or smothered? Hash brownies? It didn’t appear to me that the octopus struggled at all. What gives?

    I don’t think many cuttlefish species are venomous and I’m fairly sure I saw the octopus struggling a bit once it had been caught. I think it’s major problems were the fact that it had been taken totally by surprise and the fact that the cuttlefish was so much bigger and had strong enough tentacles to just clamp the poor little thing in place.

    Got to agree with other posters though – the diver’s reaction was priceless!

  101. #101 elece
    April 14, 2009

    I’m eating filled cuttlefish, there’s tentacles inside. Now I know how it is made.

    This is no joke; I’m really eating it just now. Damn.

  102. #102 longstreet
    April 14, 2009

    Today in Minnesota, Norm Coleman filed a lawsuit on behalf of the octopus, claiming that it was the clear winner in the dispute…

  103. #103 Stanton
    April 14, 2009

    That doesn’t seem like much of a fight, unless you count “minor objection to being chewed alive” to be a form of “fighting”

  104. #104 Stanton
    April 14, 2009

    I don’t think many cuttlefish species are venomous

    Actually, all cuttlefish are venomous, though, they aren’t venomous enough to threaten humans.

    That being said, from what I’ve heard, and gathered, being bitten by a cuttlefish is still an extremely unpleasant experience (especially since many of the larger species can easily bite through a wet suit)

  105. #105 True Bob
    April 14, 2009

    Can’t we all just get along?:

  106. #106 John Phillips, FCD
    April 14, 2009

    Cuttlefish, you told us things were getting hard but I don’t think any of us realised just how hard until we saw this video. Good move though, remind me never to let you get behind me.

  107. #107 amphiox
    April 14, 2009

    Loved how the cuttlefish managed to float, camoflaged, virtually in the center of the frame the whole time without the human diver noticing it, until it struck.

    As for the unfortunate octopus, excessive fascination with chordate artifacts proved to be a maladaptive trait, it seems.

  108. #108
    April 18, 2010

    @#78: No, one also needs a mechanism to keep the two populations from interbreeding (Wallace effect). Otherwise, the smaller of the populations would just become extinct (due to having a bigger chance of mating with the wrong partners, thus having no offspring). This is simpler but similar to an idea by Dobzhansky (a gene whose product needs to be there in the correct quantity jumps from one chromosome to another).

    Concerning the cephs: It is all the other way around. The octo was proudly explaining his hypersonic spanner to the vertebrate, which is illegal (unevolved species must not be exposed to superior technology, since this interferes harmfully with their development). Therefore he was arrested by a police cuttle.

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