The Greeks had myths about them. Koreans eat them alive. James Bond tangled with one. They have three hearts and skin that can change color 177 times an hour. They can open childproof jars and help find shipwrecks. They check us out with eyes that are like ours—but better designed. They're playful, curious—and cannibalistic.
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But scientists and robotics engineers are only just beginning to come to grips with these enigmatic creatures of the deep. Katherine Harmon Courage tells us about a journey of octopus discovery that took her to Greece, Italy, and New York City.