I got all of the octopus questions right (six recalled facts, #6 intuitively plausible, #9 seems rare enough that it should be unlikely for humans to observe, and #2 was uncertain until I completed the others then metagamed that a 7⁄2 split would be “too unbalanced” for a handcrafted test) so the only surprising fact I have to update on is that the recognition thing is surprising to others. My model was that many wild animals are capable of recognizing humans, and octopuses are particularly smart as animals go, no other factors weigh heavily. That octopuses evolved totally separated from humans didn’t seem significant because although most wild animals were exposed to humans I see no obvious incentive for most of them to recognize individual humans, so the cases should be comparable on that axis. I also put little weight on octopuses not being social creatures because while there may be social recognition modules, A: animals are able to recognize humans and all of them generalizing their social modules to our species seems intuitively unlikely and B: At some level of intelligence it must be possible to distinguish individuals based on sheer general pattern-recognition, for ten humans an octopus would only need four or five bits of information and animal intelligence in general seems good at distinguishing between a few totally arbitrary bits.
The evolutionary theory of aging is interesting and seems to predict that an animal’s maximum age will be proportionate to its time -to-accidental-death. Just thinking of animals and their ages at random this seems plausible but I’m hardly being rigorous, have there been proper analyses done of that?