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The Cephalopod Lab

(A poem in response to the NPR article by Nell Greenfieldboyce dated 6/3/19)


A lab in Massachusetts has 3,000 cephalopods.

Some people may think the scientists there are pretending to be Gods.

Now cephalopods, you ask? They are cuttlefish, octopus, or squid.

Notoriously hard to keep in cages – you have to put a rock on top of the lid.

You see octopuses are known to be great at escaping

They can also regrow arms and are therefore good at reshaping.

One octopus – the pygmy zebra – is small enough to fit in a jar.

If you are wondering how I know this, I heard some of it on NPR.

These creatures are not that easy to keep in captivity

They need a ton of food and have an extremely feisty proclivity.

They are so antisocial that they each need their own cage

That’s because they’ll attack each other in a crazy eight-legged rage.

Another thing about cephalopods – they really like to hide

They are also known to squirt out water so researchers have to watch their backside.

They can change their body’s color just like a chameleon

The research performed on these creatures therefore seems quite Aristotelian.

Researchers in this lab are studying the cephalopod gene sequence

It’s important to know how they’re created” – is the general lab credence.

Full genetic sequencing also allows for purposeful alterations

Though I must confess I don’t fully understand the potential applications.

In the absence of federal regulation, cephalopod pain is concerning

But which anesthesia is best for octopi? This lab is proactively learning.

Cephalopods have large elaborate brains and can move by jet propulsion

Perhaps these facts will help them to orchestrate their own lab expulsion.

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 © 2019 by Tiana Gierke O'Konek.  All rights reserved.

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