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Why you can't dance with an octopus

The sea creature has moves but has no rhythm, according to researchers.

octopusoctopusA new study says that octopuses move wherever their arms propel them, but there's no rhythm to the movements. (Photo: Evikka / Shutterstock)

Say you want to tango with an octopus (just humor us for a second). It would be tough to do, right? You wouldn't know which tentacle to grab, or where to hook your arm. If you even tried to touch it, the offended cephalopod would probably squirt ink in your face. And, of course, you would be underwater, making the degree of difficulty even higher.

But researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have given you another reason to not ask an octopus to dance: it has no rhythm. A study by the researchers reveals that, unlike similarly structured creatures such as crabs, octopuses move wherever one of their arms propel them. However, there's no rhythm to the movements; no left-right-left-right in the case of the octopuses. The tentacle movements are completely random. Live Science reported on the study.

A clip reel of some of those rockin' octopuses is below. Notice how they just move around the tank in whatever direction they want to go.

Fascinating stuff, right? They don't need to turn their bodies, according to head researcher Guy Levy, and the in-and-out motion is autonomous, propelling them in the direction that tentacles is going in. "It only has to decide which arms to use, and not how to use them," he told Live Science.

Which is why even a square dance with that octopus won't work; you allemande left and the octopus allemandes somewhere off to the northwest. And that's no fun.

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Related Topics: Animals, Science