Saturday, February 27, 2016

The Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus

Internet users became familiar with the “Pacific Northwest tree octopus” as early as 1998. The tree octopus, which can be found in the temperate rain forests of North America, spends only its early and mating periods of life in an aquatic environment.

Due to its special skin adaptations and the moistness of the rain forest, the Pacific Northwest tree octopus can stay hydrated for long periods of time. Supposedly, it is an intelligent, inquisitive being with advanced behavioral developments.

The tree octopus has eight arms covered in sensitive suckers which the creature uses to grab a branch, pull itself along, strike an insect, or even examine a certain object. Tree octopuses are also capable of displaying their emotions to each another through their changing skin colors: Red shows anger, and white indicates fear.

However, unsuspecting Internet users were most disturbed to learn that this octopus was supposedly endangered due to urban sprawl, predatory house cats, and natural predators such as the bald eagle. A website dedicated to this species urged people to take action to preserve it from extinction.

Of course, there was one little problem: The Pacific Northwest tree octopus has never existed. However, the website dedicated to this hoax has been designed so masterfully that it continues to fool many people, including students taking an Internet literacy test.

Do you remember this one? It was standard teaching for me whenever I had a computer class. You could look at the website and be totally convinced that this thing was real and to me, terrifying. I can imaging them dropping on my head from the trees. I also used this House Hippo commercial to illustrate that you have to look twice at things you see on TV and online.

1 comment:

Konsumterra said...

this was a parody of envinmentalists trying to stop forestry destroying forest habitats of endangered species - it is funny but reason it was made a bit sad