Spain Makes Bid for Octopus Oracle

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Call him Pablo?

The octopus Paul, which has shot to worldwide fame for apparently correctly picking the winner of several games in the 2010 soccer World Cup, is now the target of a takeover campaign by the Madrid Zoo.

Spain benefited from Paul's efforts, after the octopus chose Spain not only to defeat Germany in the semifinals but also to defeat the Netherlands in the final (the first-ever World Cup championship for Spain). In all, Paul "picked" winners in eight games in the 2010 World Cup. He was right every time.

Paul's current owner, the Sea Life aquarium in Oberhausen, Germany, has refused other offers to buy the octopus and had no immediate comment on the offer from the Spanish zoo, even though the offer included an animal exchange in addition to what is thought to be a large amount of money.

Paul 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 in 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.

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