* Meeting a Giant Octopus *

The Octopus is a creature of splendor and mystery, there is simply no doubt about it, and the Giant Octopus, even moreso.

These cephalopods change color, pattern, and can navigate mazes. In fact , they are so dynamic and clever it has recently been shown they are the only invertebrates known to use tools !

In the images here we see one diver apparently hugging a giant octopus; in the other Captain Nemo watches one at a casual distance in an illustrations from Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

But just what would it be like to meet one?

Thankfully, there is a zine that helps us with just this question: Chen Dou's zine "Meeting a Giant Octopus," which won the Grand Prize in Year of Science 2009 Zine-a-thon co-organized by the SSC and COPUS, explores just what it might be like to learn about the a giant octopus through a first hand meeting.

I recently asked Chen what she likes most about drawing animals:

"I've always felt as if drawing animals brings me closer to the creatures that share residence on planet Earth because it allows me to place myself in a different world where there is more interaction and understanding between human beings and other species. In our society today, it seems as if we are completely isolated from the natural world and rather indifferent toward the interaction and protection of other species. Wouldn't it be great if we got to know these mystical and beautiful creatures a little better?"

I think Chen's zine accomplishes just that sense of trying to get to know an animal, especially in the case of octopi and their remarkable intelligence...

Thanks so much for sharing this zine, Chen!

- - If you want to download the printable and foldable PDF version, click here.

You can also check out the zine here on the Year of Science site (click it to magnify)

Mind you, NOT to be confused with the "giant squid," or the "colossal squid" (nor confused with each other)