Sy Montgomery a naturalist who writes for children and adults alike explores the minds of invertebrates in The Soul of an Octopus.
Montgomery writes that Octopuses are highly intelligent and curious creatures, even if their minds are wired differently.
Montgomery discovers that octopuses, like dogs and other mammals, often have the desire to play.
Octopus display emotion by changing colors and can taste with their tentacles. They can solve problems–undo locks, create shelters, fool predators, and recognize human caretakers.
Their minds are so similar to ours that they even succumb to a similar decline in old age.
While they live relatively a short period of time–three or more years as compared to a human’s life span of seventy or more years–they undergo similar changes during the aging process.
Before she dies, an octopus Montgomery has gotten to know well lays eggs. Though this is a bittersweet moment–all female octopuses die after laying eggs–the author feels proud of her “friend.”
Though she frequently cites philosophers and scientists, Montgomery adds her own heartfelt observations.
Montgomery has a great deal of empathy for the animals she studies. She also has a great deal of admiration for the interns, volunteers, and scientists that work with marine life.
If you enjoyed Netflix’s My Octopus Teacher(2020), you may also enjoy this heartfelt story.