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A Demon of the Abyss: The Giant Squid

Sperm Whale And Giant Squid

Sperm Whale And Giant Squid

Demons Of The Deep

Nordic tales and folklore tell of sea monsters appearing off Norway haunting the seas from Norway, Iceland, and Greenland. Imagine a ship and crew sighting a beast with long arms circling the ship and no way to defend themselves. They wondered who would ever believe what they saw. Their tales were told probably with some exaggeration of monsters they had never seen. Their name was known as Kraken.

Giant Squid Attack

Giant Squid Attack

Giant Squid Attack

Giant Squid Attack

What Are Squid?

Squid belong to a group of mollusks called cephalopods and have been around for millions of years. They live very deep in the ocean and are rarely seen by humans.

  • Giant squid, scientific name Architeuthis dux and reaches 39-43 feet weighs about 600 pounds and is found worldwide.
  • Colossal squid, scientific name, Mesonychoteu, reach 33-45 feet and weigh up to 1000 pounds. They have sharp hooks on their tentacles instead of suckers. The colossal squid lives mostly in colder oceans close to Antarctica.

The squid has the largest eyes in the animal world and is the size of dinner plates. They have eight arms, two tentacles, three hearts, a funnel (siphon), and the ability to snatch prey up to thirty feet away. Each arm is dotted with two rows of suckers and is poisonous to eat. Their sole predator is the sperm whale, which also lies deep in the ocean.

Beaks of giant squid measure about two inches and are strong enough to slice through steel cable. Squid grow very fast and do not have a long life span, generally only five years. Their diet consists of deep-water fish and other smaller squid.

Hooks on A Colossal Squid

Hooks on A Colossal Squid

Giant Squid

Giant Squid

USS Navy Ship, The Stein

In 1978, the USS Stein was on a special operation in the Pacific Ocean when something suddenly struck the ship, wiping out their technical equipment. The captain decided to head to the Long Beach naval dock for repairs. Maintenance crews surveyed the damage and called in science experts to determine the cause of damage to the AN/SQS surface coating the sonar dome. Over 8% of the surface coating contained claws on the rims of suction cups found on squid tentacles. The scientists believed they were of an unknown species of squid suspected of being over 100 feet long.

The crew, however, were convinced they had been attacked by a submarine, not a squid. Yet how could the suction cups with hooks be explained? Moreover, the damage to the sonar dome was highly costly.

USS Stein

USS Stein

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USS Stein Attack

USS Stein Attack

Experts On Whale Sperm And Giant Squid

With recent developments in submersibles, scientists can finally gain access to our oceans for scientific studies. But, unfortunately, We know more about outer space than we do about our oceans.

For a long time, scientific studies of squid were complex as they were rarely seen or caught. The specimens studied mainly were dead squid washed up on shores or found in the stomachs of sperm whales. Specimens were highly sought after because they were so rare.

In the 1980s, Frederick Aldrich, a marine biologist of the Memorial University of Newfoundland, proposed a 'squid squad' even distributing a 'Wanted" poster for squid specimens. However, it was not until 2004 that a Japanese scientist, Dr. Tsuenmi Kubodera captured a video of a live giant squid.

A leading expert on sperm whales and the giant squid was Malcomb Clarke (1903-2013). Clarke was an international expert and wrote over 150 scientific articles and authored six books on marine life. . He was given a Fellowship in 1981 to the Royal Society of London.

Another authority on giant squid is Dr. Clyde Roper, a zoologist at the Smithsonian Museum.

Wanted Poster For Squid Specimens

Wanted Poster For Squid Specimens

Dr. Roper Dissecting a Giant Squid

Dr. Roper Dissecting a Giant Squid

Jules Verne, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea

In 1870, Jules Verne wrote his novel, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, with a giant squid attacking the Nautilus. His book became a best seller. Then the movie in 1954 was such a great success it grossed 28 million at the box office. Now Disney is working on a ten-part series called Nautilus based on the original novel 20,000Leagues Under The Sea. It is expected to be released in 2022 or 2023.

Museums With Displays Of Squid

The colossal squid is the largest invertebrate on earth, and one is on display at the Te Papa Museum in Wellington, New Zealand. In addition, an exhibition of a giant squid is found at the Sant Ocean Hall at the Smithsonian Museum, Washington, D.C. Curator Emeritus Dr. Clyde Roper is one of the leading authorities on Giant squid. In London, England, the Natural History Museum on Cromwell Road also displays giant squid.

Sources Used

https://www.whalefacts.org/squid-facts

https://www.nhm.ac.uk/discover/giant-squid

https://ocean.si.edu/ocean-life


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