PAUL the psychic octopus was the only thing standing between humanity and catastrophic disaster, scientists have confirmed.
Scientists have pinpointed the death in 2010 of the World Cup match-predicting octopus as the precise moment when everything started going tits up for the human race.
Professor Henry Brubaker of the Institute for Studies said: “I’ll be honest, we hadn’t done any real science since 2003, because we were just asking Paul yes or no questions the entire time.
Will Spain win the 2010 World Cup final? Yes. Will I need an umbrella tomorrow? No. Sadly we didn’t think to ask ‘Will a deadly pandemic plunge us into a global recession?’.
“Moments before he passed into cephalopod heaven, Paul drew an image of the Earth on fire and surrounded by noxious gas, but we just assumed he’d shat loads of ink everywhere.”
Unsuccessful attempts have been made to replace Paul the Octopus with other clairvoyant animals, including Gavin the Penguin, who was only able to tell if couples were not right for each other.
Brubaker added: “We discovered a tortoise oracle called Francesca who seemed promising, but then she told us to inject bleach if you’re ill, and that didn’t sound right.”