By Katherine Harmon Courage on September 18, 2013. MUNCHIES: Have you come across the practice of eating live octopus over the course of your research on cephalopods? How do animals experience pain? The views expressed are those of the author(s) and are not necessarily those of Scientific American. The past couple posts have described some pretty severe experiments on octopuses, including: showing how octopus arms can grow back after inflicted damage and how even severed octopus arms can react to stimuli. Octopus are slimy. Whats the best fish sauce? The brain does not feel pain because there are no pain receptors in the brain. Octopuses can feel pain, just like all animals. But in some corners of the world, there is less taboo assigned to eating the still-breathing. If you look at us, most of our neurons are in our brain, and for the octopus, three-fifths of its neurons are in its arms. But goodness knows, I have eaten raw oysters and raw clams. 88 answer Do octopus bite you? Because octopuses have sophisticated nervous systems and feel pain just as acutely as mammals do... Octopuses and other cephalopods have sophisticated nervous systems, granted. 91 answer What is bigger an octopus or a squid? I think it was the Hawaiians who used to bite down on the brain to kill it quickly. Rather, the octopus can make “value judgments around sensory input.” In short, they weigh up the need for food with the physical pain caused by using an injured limb. Jennifer Mather, PhD: It's not something I've come across in my research. But that doesn't mean that crustaceans can't experience the same pain stimuli, anticipation, and memory of painful events that an octopus does. The past couple posts have described some pretty severe experiments on octopuses, including: showing how octopus arms can grow back after inflicted damage and how even severed octopus arms can react to stimuli. I hoped that she could offer greater insight into pain and sentience in octopus terms. This “creates an ethical dilemma given that the ultimate aim would be to reduce suffering for cephalopods.”. First, there is the detection of physical pain (via receptors known as nociceptors). Discover world-changing science. You don't have to figure out exactly where the brain is, and you don't have to worry about an anaesthetic tainting the flavor of the meat. In your research, particularly with octopus, what was the most surprising evidence of anecdote you found about their intelligence or sense of sentience? - Duration: 2:29. But these are still relatively rough measures of a complex process. 1 hour ago — Michael J. Battaglia | Opinion, 5 hours ago — Michael Eisenstein and Nature magazine. In our own experience, three major elements are involved in feeling pain. Octopuses are wired unlike most other familiar animals. How is pink salt different than regular salt? Our squiddy friends don't really have pain receptors like we do, but react to stimuli which might be painful for them. Scientific American is part of Springer Nature, which owns or has commercial relations with thousands of scientific publications (many of them can be found at, How Does That Crazy Camouflage Octopus Disappear? Second, there is the experience of pain (which, in our case, is mediated by the cerebrum). FACTS:-The octopus's brain continues to increase in both size and cell number throughout its entire life. As the authors point out, experiments showing that cephalopods can learn via electric shocks as a negative stimulus are suggestive that the octopus has felt–and remembered the sensation. They also feel a mental desire to minimize their suffering. Florida scientist: Government is retaliating against me Fruit flies are known to have nociceptors, and it is likely that other insects do, too. Octopus can eject a thick, blackish ink which means it is being attacked and it is scared. As the researchers note in their paper, we know very little about whether cephalopods recognize pain or experience suffering and distress in a similar way that we humans–or even we vertebrates–do. Do they have consciousness? Do Octopuses Feel Pain? shrimp, lobster and crab), and molluscs (e.g. However, the catch-22 for this type of work is that pursuing it “may involve procedures with the potential to cause pain, suffering and distress,” the researchers write. She has studied octopuses and their close relatives since 1978, and has done extensive field research into the cephalopod mind. And, at least during hunting, an octopus that is pinched by a crab will not withdrawal but will, rather, proceed with its attack, the researchers note. But research has not yet confirmed their presence. That is the conclusion drawn by an international team of researchers consisting of neurobiologists, behavioural ecologists and fishery scientists. There's everything to learn about them. But let’s look at the second half of that statement. The octopus has a nervous system which is much more distributed than ours. They also have spatial memory. Finally, research showing efficient transmission of incoming, would-be painful stimuli from the skin to the lobes of the central brain actually seems to be the most lacking. Dave Arnold continues to plow through listener questions and make food seem easy. Fish do not feel pain the way humans do. Crustaceans, cephalopods, and mollusks don't have any internal temperature regulation, so if you freeze them you can get them to the point where they're really not conscious. So it's a barbaric thing to do to the animal. Jaclyn Friedlander 14,317 views. Subscribers get more award-winning coverage of advances in science & technology. clams, snails, and squid).Traditionally, these animals have not been included in … And they are capable of learning, discrimination, spatial awareness and impressive memories. This is taken seriously enough by the EU that medical or biological research on cepholpods involving surgeries or similar must make use of anasthesia, same as such procedures done on primates, dogs, and other “higher" animals. Jordan's latest move isn't just business, it has a big purpose. It has been argued that only primates and humans can feel "emotional pain", because they are the only animals that have a neocortex – a part of the brain's cortex considered to be the "thinking area". Thanks for the A2A, and have a nice day! HOSTED BY Dave Arnold Nastassia Lopez . Certainly some awareness of harmful stimuli is important for an animal to survive and thrive. Symptoms of Octopus … Starting this year the European Union asks researchers to make similarly humane accommodations for cephalopods as they do for vertebrates (Directive 2010/63/EU, pdf). And they are capable of learning, discrimination, spatial awareness and impressive memories. They're fascinating. Are there any ways, short of medical sedation, that one could reduce the amount of suffering while still eating an animal alive? But we do not yet have evidence that they can process suffering as we do. By signing up to the VICE newsletter you agree to receive electronic communications from VICE that may sometimes include advertisements or sponsored content. Do invertebrates feel pain? 60 answer Do octopuses have ears? There's a wonderful video from some guys in Australia—there are several that have done this actually—they need someplace to hide while they rest. So if anybody ever offers you live octopus or squid, do not order it, as this is extremely cruel and inhumane. Episode 145 Do Octopuses Feel Pain? There is absolutely no doubt that they feel pain. Best Answers. But “responses might not be mediated by nociceptors (or could involve a variety of receptors) and hence might be a different kind of aversive sensation, when compared with pain experienced in humans,” the authors note. Remember how intelligent octopuses are, nearly as smart as humans! Why is it that we almost universally condemn leaving a dog out in the rain or kicking a cat, but haven't yet decided whether slowly dismembering a sea creature is truly disagreeable? dining on octopuses whose arms continue to squirm. The designations of welfare, cruelty, and simple squeamishness are not always clear-cut—especially in issues surrounding the types of animals that we don't hold particularly near and dear. Originally Answered: Do octopuses feel pain? Of eating an octopus alive, Dr. Jennifer Mather, an expert on cephalopods and a psychology professor at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada, says, “[T]he octopus, which you’ve been chopping to pieces, is feeling pain every time you do it. Extraordinary Octopus Takes To Land | The Hunt | BBC Earth - Duration: 3:55. Both of these could explain why an octopus arm might recoil at an unpleasant sensation without the animal having a “conscious” experience of it. In Seoul, South Korea, there are entire restaurants centered around dining on octopuses whose arms continue to squirm when they're placed on your plate—and as they wriggle down your throat. Humans know the surprising prick of a needle, the searing pain of a stubbed toe, and the throbbing of a toothache. The opinion of scientists is “yes". If they feel pain, she says, what about fruit flies? But there was a discussion I had with PETA about someone who was frying octopuses alive in New York, and I was asked to comment on that. Kaepernick, Ben & Jerry's collaborate for new flavor. Luckily for us, a new paper deals with that very question. How do animals think? (For the record, animals in the studies were anesthetized and euthanized, respectively.) The age old question! Second, there is the experience of pain (which, in our case, is mediated by the cerebrum). The controversial practice of eating live animals is still popular in many parts of the world. Robyn J. Crook examines pain in both vertebrate and invertebrate animals. And as the authors of this review remind us, “care must be taken in drawing conclusions between cephalopod and vertebrate brains, as the last common ancestor of vertebrates and cephalopods existed over 500 million years ago.”. But we do not yet have evidence that they can process suffering as we do. For example, researchers have observed an octopus’s color changing and activity patterns and looked for any self-inflicted harm (swimming into the side of a tank or eating its own arms) to judge whether the animal is “stressed.” And to tell whether an animal has “gone under” anesthesia, they often look for movements, lack of response, posture change or, at the most, measure heart rate and breathing. How do the animals all around us experience pain? Are octopus aware of their own existence? And “there are strong ethical, legal and scientific obligations to avoid, recognize and alleviate any pain, suffering and distress caused to animals used in scientific procedures,” the researchers note. This article originally appeared on MUNCHIES in December 2014. I have also seen octopuses unscrewing jar lids easily to get a small crab inside. But whether “pain”–especially originating from an arm–is processed in the central brain remains to be determined. Although the most common opinion held by researchers is that lobsters (and their hard-shell relatives) cannot process pain, there is in fact a subgroup of scientists who vehemently disagree. Two are used to pump blood to the gills; one is used to pump blood to the rest of the body. Aired: Tuesday, October 29th 2013. It's probable that the octopus's reaction to pain is similar to a vertebrate. Her books include Cultured: How Ancient Foods Can Feed Our Microbiome and Octopus! (This is a fascinating question for many animals–especially those we occasionally eat; David Foster Wallace’s famous essay “Consider the Lobster” explores the issue for crustaceans.). The past couple posts have described some pretty severe experiments on octopuses, including: showing how octopus arms can grow back after inflicted damage and how even ... | Biology101 Octopuses can feel pain, just like all animals. How can we account for differences in the perception of what constitutes cruelty between cultures? Their arms contain their own, individual small “brains,” and arms seem to communicate with each other via a lower nerve connection that does not pester the brain with mundane movement and coordination tasks. They can anticipate a painful, difficult, stressful situation—they can remember it. But they really don't have the central nervous system to be, so to speak, making decisions and suffering. What I would do is put it in the freezer. Dax Shepard reveals he lied about his sobriety. These kinds of mental processes indicate the octopus feels pain on a similar level to us — and they’re not alone. While squid and shrimp aren’t noted for their intelligence, they still have brains and feel pain. The Most Mysterious Creature in the Sea. It's not just a sense of direction, it's a sense of where you've been. One of them dug up a coconut shell and hauled it around with it, and when it got to the point where it wanted to rest, it picked up the shell, tucked itself inside of it, and went to sleep. What about other types of sea creatures—the live langoustine, for example, that caused waves for Copenhagen's Noma? What do you think an octopus is experiencing when it's being cut into pieces and eaten alive? Previous (as well as much current) research has looked largely to behavioral clues as an indication to an octopus’s internal state. And one of the things they looked at in terms of rules was, OK, we have to give consideration to vertebrates, but are there any invertebrates that we should give ethical consideration to? Short of cannibalism, the most controversial issues in meat-eating today are likely the consumption of dog meat—due to our social and sentimental attachments to the canine species—and the practice of eating live animals. I suspect that they're just throwing an octopus on a chopping block and cutting off pieces as they go, and they are absolutely causing that animal suffering. But the octopus, which you've been chopping to pieces, is feeling pain every time you do it. Do octopuses feel that pain? You just stick it in the freezer. It’s just as painful as if it were a hog, a fish, or a rabbit, if you chopped a rabbit’s leg off piece by piece. They can anticipate a painful, difficult, stressful situation—they can remember it. Why doesn't the brain feel pain? Todays show was sponsored by Heritage Foods USA. What would be the best way to kill an octopus quickly and with minimal pain to the animal? 85 answer How long can an octopus survive out of the water? Quite impressive. [Video], how octopus arms can grow back after inflicted damage, how even severed octopus arms can react to stimuli, the special “Cephalopod Research” issue of September’s, Farewell from Octopus Chronicles—And an Ode To a Tool-Wielding Octopus [Video], Octopus Genome Remains Elusive—But Full of Promise.