Octopus Oracle Dead of Natural Causes

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The octopus Paul, which shot to worldwide fame for apparently correctly picking the winner of several games in the 2010 soccer World Cup, has died. Paul was two-and-one-half years old.

A spokesman for Paul's current owner, the Sea Life aquarium in Oberhausen, Germany, has said that the octopus died of natural causes at an age not unusual for mollusks of its type.

Paul initially shot to fame during the Euro in 2008, when he correctly "picked" the winner of four of Germany's five matches. Then this year, Paul went 8-for-8, correctly "picking" the winner in all seven of Germany's matches and then picking Spain to win the final.

How did he do it? Workers at the aquarium devised a system that involved lowering into Paul's tank two plastic containers of food, each one decorated with the flags of the two countries contesting the soccer match. Observers interpreted Paul's initial opening of a food container as his pick for the upcoming soccer match.

After Spain's victory, a zoo in Spain contacted Sea Life aquarium, offering to purchase Paul. Sea Life refused , even though the offer included an animal exchange in addition to what was thought to be a large amount of money.

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