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Science Briefing

What has 6 arms, 2 legs, and swims?

August 16, 2008|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Octopuses' eight tentacles divide up into six "arms" and two "legs," a study published by a chain of commercial aquariums said Thursday.

Helped by more than 2,000 observations by visitors, teams of aquatic specialists carried out a study showing that the creatures seemed to favor their first three pairs of tentacles for grabbing and using objects, Sea Life aquariums said.

"One can assume that the front six tentacles have the function of arms, and that the back two take over the function of legs," said Sea Life biologist Oliver Walenciak.

Unlike humans and some other animals, most octopuses did not appear to be left- or right-handed.

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