Aliens with tentacles are so common in science fiction they’ve become a stereotype, but you don’t have to go to space to find intelligent tentacle monsters. Right here on Earth, we have the octopus. It may be slimy and it may have a funny name, but the octopus is surprisingly smart.
In this first video, we see that octopi are not trapped in the ocean. They can—and often do—walk on land. This may be one way they escape predators in the water. So long as their skin is still moist, they can breathe.
In the next video, we see an octopus open a jar to get food.
Finally, the octopus in this video picks up the broken halves of a coconut shell, hides inside them, and rolls itself down a slope. The coconut shells provide both defense and transportation (it’s probably fun too), and this is one of the rare examples of non-primates using tools.
For humans, opposable thumbs were a key part of our evolution. The ability to grasp objects and manipulate them with such dexterity encouraged our ancestors to use their minds. They began to make tools, to build stuff, and eventually they invented cars and computers and smartphones. Tentacles are just as useful as opposable thumbs, and now octopi are learning to use their minds too. In a few million years, they may become as smart as us. On some other planet, maybe they already have.