One Smart Octopus: World Cup Savant…Maybe

posted by Dr. James G. Hood
Thursday, July 1, 2010

Soothsayer octopus tips Germany over Argentina

By Peter Wilkinson, CNN
July 1, 2010 12:05 p.m. EDT

(CNN) — Germany will beat Argentina in Saturday’s World Cup quarter-final, at least if an octopus called Paul is to be believed.

And if you’re unsure whether to accept the word of an eight-legged sea creature, Paul has form. The octopus, who lives at an aquarium in Germany, has correctly predicted all four results of that country’s games in the tournament, according to staff.

Before Sunday’s game against England Paul needed just eight seconds to make up his mind, but in view of the tougher challenge that Diego Maradona’s side will pose Germany, he took over an hour to decide, suggesting it could go to extra-time or even penalties.

Staff at Sea Life in Oberhausen, western Germany, help Paul make his prediction by lowering into his tank two boxes of food, one carrying a German flag and the other bearing that of their opponents. The case he opens first is adjudged to be his predicted winner.

The octopus correctly predicted Germany would beat Ghana and Australia in their Group D matches, but he disagreed with land-based pundits by tipping Serbia in their match. They went on to win 1-0.

And even though Paul was born in England, he went against his roots to predict Germany’s emphatic last-16 rout of his own country.

Paul will be following the rest of the World Cup closely, a Sea Life spokesman told CNN, and will make more predictions as the tournament reaches its climax.

But before you blow your savings on Paul’s tips be warned: Most bookmakers have Argentina as favorites on Saturday, and Paul’s success rate for the European Championships in 2008 was only 80 percent.

(Article and photo courtesy of CNN News)

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