Many Things Under a Rock: The Mysteries of Octopuses (Paperback)

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Many Things Under a Rock: The Mysteries of Octopuses By David Scheel, Laurel "Yoyo" Scheel (Illustrator) Cover Image

Many Things Under a Rock: The Mysteries of Octopuses (Paperback)


On Our Shelves Now
6 on hand, as of Jul 19 10:06pm
(Animals & Nature)

Staff Reviews

Watching My Octopus Teacher then reading Remarkably Bright Creatures made me curious. This book helped me understand octopuses. I was mesmerized by Scheel’s stories and facts. His first description, swimming with an octopus missing an eye and limb, made both author and reader want to know the story. His 25 years of studying them provide individual stories and the larger context of their survival methods.

— Ashby

“Mind-blowing and soul-expanding.” —Sy Montgomery, author of The Soul of an Octopus

A behavioral ecologist’s riveting account of his decades-long obsession with octopuses: his discoveries, adventures, and new scientific understanding of their behaviors.

Of all the creatures of the deep blue, none is as captivating as the octopus. In Many Things Under a Rock, marine biologist David Scheel investigates four major mysteries about these elusive beings. How can we study an animal with perfect camouflage and secretive habitats? How does a soft and boneless creature defeat sharks and eels, while thriving as a predator of the most heavily armored animals in the sea? How do octopus bodies work? And how does a solitary animal form friendships, entice mates, and outwit rivals?

Over the course of his twenty-five years studying octopuses, Scheel has witnessed a sea change in what we know and are able to discover about octopus physiology and behavior—even an octopus’s inner life. Here he explores amazing new scientific developments, weaving accounts of his own research, and surprising encounters, with stories and legends of Indigenous peoples that illuminate our relationship with these creatures across centuries. In doing so, he reveals a deep affinity between humans and even the most unusual and unique undersea dwellers.

Octopuses are complex, emotional, and cognitive beings; even as Scheel unearths explanations for the key mysteries that have driven his work, he turns up many more things of wonder that lurk underneath. This is the story of what we have learned and what we are still learning about the natural history and wondrous lives of these animals with whom we share our blue planet.

David Scheel, professor of marine biology at Alaska Pacific University, has researched the behavior and ecology of octopuses for over twenty-five years. He starred, with Heidi the Octopus and his daughter Laurel, in PBS’s Octopus: Making Contact. He lives in Anchorage, Alaska.
Product Details ISBN: 9781324076292
ISBN-10: 1324076291
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: June 18th, 2024
Pages: 320
Language: English
Fascinating. Scheel’s unique perspective on these animals, his evocative writing, and his engagement with the traditional cultures of Alaska make this the deepest of octopus books.
— Peter Godfrey-Smith, author of Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness

An accessible and nuanced exploration of the lives of these intriguing invertebrates.… An engaging read.
— Dan Blustein - Science

In Scheel’s many years of study and discovery for Many Things Under a Rock, indigenous science and stories are given equal weight with Western science.… The book abounds with wonders.… It is the elegance of an octopus’s movement, the shape-shifting and colouration of the creatures, that Scheel finds so beguiling.

— Kathleen Jamie - New Statesman

Page-turning natural history.… The author’s passion for octopuses, combined with his accessible language and vivid descriptions of his encounters, creates a memorable book that is sure to appeal to fans of underwater adventures and anyone who enjoyed the film My Octopus Teacher. Laurel Scheel’s simple yet elegant illustrations complement the text. A heartfelt and enlightening look at one of Earth’s most curious creatures.

— Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Fascinating.… A complex portrait of a surprising animal.
— Publishers Weekly