With its heavy outer shell, weak vision, and primitive brain, the nautilus lacks much of the excitement of the more flashy and cunning cephalopods. Yet a series of experiments by evolutionary biologists Jennifer Basil, associate professor at Brooklyn College, and Robyn Crook, a neuroscientist at the University of Texas, Houston, involving fish juice, blue lights, and mazes dispels the notion that this ancient species is incapable of basic learning and throws into question the origins of cephalopods’ intellectual prowess.
Produced by Luke Groskin
Music by Audio Network
Additional Stills and Video Courtesy
Monterey Bay Aquarium, Robyn Crook, Peter Godfrey Smith,
Henrik Steenfeldt Neils Ulmer Gary Friesen The Aquarium of the Pacific,
Prelinger Archives, Shutterstock