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Germany’s Octopus Oracle Paul

July 3, 2010

When Germans want to know if their team will win their next match at the ongoing World Cup soccer tournament in South Africa, they turn to the octopus nicknamed Paul. From his tank at Oberhausen Sea Life aquarium, Paul has been most impressive, correctly predicting the outcome of all the four soccer matches Germany has played in three wins and a loss to Serbia.

This is how Paul does his prediction: His caretakers at Sea Life put a mussel in each of two clear plastic containers. The boxes are marked with the flags of the soccer teams. Paul’s prediction for victory is whichever container he chooses first.

According to entertainment director Daniel Fey, Paul showed his intelligence early on. “There was something about the way he looked at our visitors when they came close to the tank,” he says. “It was so unusual, so we tried to find out what his special talents were.” Although Paul isn’t much of a soccer player — all those legs get in the way — he does have a knack for predicting games.

Fans were most surprised when Paul, who hatched in England in 2008, refused to allow any latent patriotic sentiments cloud his judgment when he predicted the outcome of Sunday’s Germany vs. England match. Paul quickly chose the box with the German flag indicating, as his spokeswoman Tanja Mnzig explained, “a decisive victory for Germany.”

And so it was, 4:1 for Germany.

On Tuesday morning, as a crowd of photographers surrounded his tank, snapping pictures, the octopus oracle made his prediction for Germany’s next match on Saturday against favorite Argentina. Paul, an English-born octopus in the Sea Life Aquarium in Oberhausen, picked Germany and with it predicts that the German team will win over Argentina in a quarterfinal match. According to Paul, Team Argentina might as well start packing their bags now, because Germany will beat them. But because it took a while for Paul to make his decision, it is predicted that Germany will face a tough match against Argentina.

Before you place your bets, remember that Paul is good, but not infallible. In the 2008 European Championship soccer tournament, Paul was right almost 70 percent of the time. But even with a 70% accuracy, you would have made a killings at the World Cup betting if you have heeded Paul’s prediction from Day 1.

Animal rights group PETA is now clamoring for Paul to be released into a national park in waters off the south of France where fishing is banned.

“Paul is stuck in a small aquarium … We think that Paul would be fine in the sea,’ marine biologist Tanja Breining from PETA said.

‘Octopuses are among the most intelligent of invertebrates. They are capable of complex thought processes, have short and long-term memories, use tools, learn through observation, have different personalities and are particularly sensitive to pain,’ the organisation said.

Sea Life, however, said it would be a bad idea.

‘Animals born in captivity are used to being fed and have no experience finding food by themselves,’ a spokeswoman told AFP.

‘It is highly likely that he would die.’

I am sure the bookies will throw their support behind PETA…hahaha!

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  • Reply Alderney July 9, 2010 at 7:25 am

    Paul the octopus is absolutely the greatest oracle :-)

  • Reply Medord July 9, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    This octopus is definitely the most alterative psychic …

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