The Magnificent Octopus: “Pollution Hurts - Octopus at Risk” Print Email Prev 1 of 5 Next Beneath The Sea's Ocean Pals Poster Contest for ChildrenMeasuring the intelligence of another creature is a perplexing dichotomy. The yardstick of reference has been comparing brain size, and since humans have a relatively large brain, humans are considered the superior species. Arguably size matters in the number of neurons to determine intelligence, the human species has 100 billion, by comparison the octopus has 130 with an incredible adaptation – a fifth of the neurons are found in the octopus arms. Article by Selene Muldowney and John Tapley; photos courtesy Bob Ricke and Maria Hults The mysterious octopus, besides being incredibly intelligent and adaptable is the only species capable of growing eight feet long, weighing 100 pounds and yet manages to squeeze that boneless body into an object the size of an apple. Their arms are covered with thousands of suckers that taste and feel; a beak like a parrot and venom like a snake; a tongue covered in teeth; shape shifter; color changer; and the ability to squirt ink in self-defense. These beautiful creatures whose ancestors diverged from ancestors from the lineage that would lead to ours roughly 500 to 700 million years ago—have developed intelligence, emotions, and individual personalities.The focus of this year’s Beneath the Sea’s Ocean Pals Poster contest is “Pollution Hurts - Octopus at Risk”, which recognizes both the devastating impact of pollution on the marine environment and the importance of the octopus species in our marine ecosystem. The octopus has unfortunately become a victim of ocean pollution. Most of this pollution is derived from oil spills, toxic waste, garbage, and dumping of hazardous waste. Sea life is dying from these chemicals, it is these intoxicated sea creatures that are being consumed by the octopus. This cycle must be changed and this damage reversed – to do so requires action by the human species -- us.Beneath the Sea President JoAnn Zigahn believes the Ocean Pals poster contest serves as an opportunity to encourage children and adults to become tomorrow’s ocean conservationists making us all aware of and sharing concerns for marine environments through poster art. “Education and responsible stewardship towards protecting our planet is the goal,” states Zigahn.This project is made possible through the 38th annual Beneath the Sea Exposition at Secaucus, NJ, with special thanks to the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism, the Underwater Society of America, and Florida Skin Divers Association. Students, as well as their teachers, have opportunities to earn incredible prizes.For more info and entry rules, check out Ocean Pals' website here.