Paul the octopus: amazing animals

26th October 2010
Paul the octopus sits on a box with decorated with a Spanish flag © Patrik Stollarz/AFP/Getty Images

Paul the octopus sits on a box with decorated with a Spanish flag © Patrik Stollarz/AFP/Getty Images

The 'psychic' octopus Paul who became a household name for his precise predictions about match outcomes during the World Cup has passed away. While you might question whether Paul really possessed a prophetic gift, there have been instances when the animal kingdom has taken scientists by surprise.

Dolphin ipadA dolphin using an iPad

Merlin, a two-year-old bottlenose dolphin in Mexico, is using the latest Apple gadget to help develop a human-dolphin communication interface called Dolphin Speak. Not surprising, considering research suggests dolphins are second only to humans in intelligence. Don't worry tech fans: the iPad has a waterproof cover on it.

Pigeons great with directions

The human race tends to depend on a GPS or Google maps to get from A to B, but homing pigeons have been discovered to find their way home from a distance as long as 1100 miles without any guidance systems. Their beak structures contain iron which helps them sense the Earth’s magnetic field and identify their geographical location.

ChimpanzeeChimps with photographic memory

Photographic memory among humans is very rare, but not so with chimps. Young chimpanzees show an extraordinary working memory capacity for recollecting numbers, better even than that of human adults tested in the same conditions, following the same procedure.

The real Godzilla

A 2 metre-long, Godzilla-like lizard was first spotted back in 2004 in the Sierra Madre mountains in Luzon, an island in the Philippines. When scientists conducted DNA tests they confirmed that the golden-spotted reptile is a new species. They say the existence of a vertebrate that big, on an island hit by deforestation and nearby development is a "rare occurrence".

Roving whale

In a record-breaking journey, a female humpback whale was found to have travelled across a quarter of the globe, a distance of about 6200 miles. That’s about double the distance of a typical seasonal migration made by an average humpback whale. Scientists identified the animal from photographs that were taken of its tail, also called a fluke, on two occasions – once at its regular breeding ground in Brazil, and once two years later, off the coast of Madagascar.