The cephalopod oracle in the news, Octopus Paul, presently in a tank at the Sea Life centre in Oberhausen, Germany, has his origin from Italy, not Britain, reports The Daily Mirror, London.
The newspaper reported that Paul's trainer Verena Bartsch claimed she caught him off the Italian island of Elba (yes, the same Elba where Emperor Napoleon was sent to exile) in the month of April.
Said Verena: “I caught him with my bare hands. He was only a few weeks old.”
If Verena's words are true then it gives the lie to the claim that this very same octopus had predicted results for Euro 2008.
Verena also added she had taken Paul first to a sea life centre in the German town of Coburg before moving him to Oberhausen. Why she chose to wait so long before revealing these details is not clear, says the Mirror report.
As a result of Verena's claim, a shadow of doubt has been cast over the age of the octopus. If it is indeed only a few months old, it could not possible have predicted the Euro 2008 results. Paul was said to have had an 80 per cent success rate at the start of the World Cup.
The Italian newspaper “La Republica” takes the cake. It headlines: “Octopus gets it right again but his real name is Paolo.”
Based on the octopus' Italian origin, opposition MP Andrew Sarubbi came up with a tongue-in-cheek comment on the government.
“I have just read the shocking news that the famous predicting octopus Paul is not English but in fact from Italy. I have written to the director of the German Sea Life centre and asked that he be repatriated as soon as possible because never has our country ever needed someone to make clear and decisive judgements such as now”, he said.