Do you want Marina with that? A 400 pound, 30 Ft. long giant squid washed on the shores of Spain this week. Fortunately for those who found it but unfortunately for the creature, it was already deceased before it landed on the beach. Squid such as this are not easy to catch because they dwell very deep in the ocean and scientists still don’t know very much about the habitat of these creepy calamari.
Researchers do know, however, that these aquatic wonders have “complex brains,” a thought which is at once fascinating and terrifying. There’s just something a bit uncomfortable about knowing that a specimen with eyes as large as a human head and tentacles as long as several people standing on each other’s shoulders also has a large and rather intelligent brain. Yikes.
This particularly blobby baby is called an Architeuthis dux and some feel it may be behind the legend of the Kraken, a mythological ocean creature popular in ancient lore. In fact, the creature was considered to exist only in literature and oral storytelling traditions up until recently.
As fate would have it, a professional underwater photographer was on the scene when the animal made its spectacular appearance. It’s quite a find, especially in light of the fact that the first time this particular type of squid was filmed in its natural habitat happened just last year.
At that time, zoologist Tsunemi Kubodera said of his discovery, “It was shining and so beautiful. I was so thrilled when I saw it first hand, but I was confident we would because we rigorously researched the areas we might find it, based on past data.”
Researcher Richard Ellis says that the first time the giant squid was seen was “a great accomplishment.” He explains that up until recent times, the idea of a giant squid was only speculative. “It’s wonderful that a great mystery that’s been in existence for hundreds of years has now been solved. You feel, o.k. the window is open. Now I can see something I never could see before,” he says. “It means more than finding the Loch Ness Monster. Here, something that was thought to be mythological for many many years is suddenly revealed to be a real animal.” He says the finding is important to humanity because it “fills in a piece of the puzzle” about previously unknown biological science.
Being able to see the creature in its natural habitat lets scientists know how it swims, how its eyes work and that it “charges” at its bait. It is a very aggressive, “attacking” animal that is not a passive eater. This is a creature that will go after a tiny squid with much enthusiasm.
Knowing all this, perhaps the people who stumbled across this new specimen this week should feel grateful it was no longer alive. The 400 pound, 30 ft. long giant squid has some people asking if it could be chopped up, battered and deep fried. Do you want marinara with that? Oops, no such luck. It’s found a new residence at the Maritime Museum of Cantabria.
By: Rebecca Savastio