Correlations Between Invertebrate Intelligence and Evolution

The evolutionary drive to invertebrate intelligence

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The octopus is a very intelligent invertebrate. Evolutionists assert intelligent apes are our near relations, but how do they explain octopus intelligence? “Researchers who study octopuses are convinced that these boneless, alien animals—creatures whose ancestors diverged from the lineage that would lead to ours roughly 500 to 700 million years ago—have developed intelligence, emotions, and individual personalities,” according to a recent feature in Orion Magazine. “Octopuses,” according to philosopher Peter Godfrey-Smith, “are a separate experiment in the evolution of the mind.”

Octopuses use tools and solve complex puzzles developing individual strategies they remember and re-use later. They are renowned escape artists. Recently videos have appeared on-line showing octopuses crawling out onto land. Some are captioned with statements like “Octopus Crawls Out Of Water Walks On Land Adds Proof to Evolution” whereas others (see simply demonstrate the purposefulness of this behavior without implying the creature is evolving toward terrestrial life.

Fossilized octopuses are rare, but those found are “almost indistinguishable from living species” or have fewer features.1 Evolutionary scientists speculate about how octopus and human eyes evolved remarkable similarities. Most evolutionists attribute this similarity to convergent evolution, not common ancestry. In fact, many evolutionists assert the human eye is poorly designed compared to the octopus eye, but recent studies have shown the human eye to be ideally suited for life in a terrestrial environment, able to provide the brain with the three dimensional information it needs because of its so-called design flaws.

A severed arm can seize food and pass it to where the mouth should be. Recent evidence suggests octopuses can sense color with their skin, though not with their eyes.

But what about intelligence? Jennifer Mather, lead author of the book Octopus: The Ocean’s Intelligent Invertebrate, believes the driving forces behind evolution of human and octopus intelligence differed. “The same thing that got them their smarts isn’t the same thing that got us our smarts,” she says, “because our two ancestors didn’t have any smarts” since “half a billion years ago, the brainiest thing on the planet had only a few neurons.” In fact, humans and octopuses don’t even keep their “neurons” in the same place: three-fifths of an octopus’s neurons are in its arms. A severed arm can seize food and pass it to where the mouth should be. Recent evidence suggests octopuses can sense color with their skin, though not with their eyes.

Many evolutionists believe human intelligence evolved in connection with social behavior. The octopus, however, has a very short lifespan and no social interaction. Although the octopus in captivity can develop preferences and dislikes for individual humans, when it interacts within its own species it generally mates and soon dies. Mather believes ancestral octopuses lost their protective shells and then had to get smart or die. Each predator required a different evasion tactic. Furthermore, loss of the shell, she believes, increased octopus mobility enabling it to become an efficient hunter. Each kind of prey required a different hunting strategy, so more intelligent creatures had a survival advantage.

But does any of this demonstrate evolution in the molecules-to-marine life-to mammals sense? No. God created the original kinds of sea creatures, including the octopus, on the fifth day of Creation week, each fully equipped for life and with enough genetic information to diversify into many varieties. Individuals best equipped to survive are able to reproduce after their kind. Thus, the more intelligent octopuses have likely survived, but God endowed them from the beginning with intelligence to live in the world He created and even to cope with the world He cursed because of man’s sin. God designed their eyes, their color-sensitive skin, their neurologically independent arms, and their intelligence to equip them for their habitat.

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  1. “Cretaceous Octopus with Ink and Suckers -- The World’s Least Likely Fossils?,” ScienceDaily, March 18, 2009,


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