The Giant Squid: no longer just a myth

Everyone has heard a crazy story about huge, terrifying sea monsters. These stories go hand in hand with tall tales and myths. Most of the time no one believes they ever existed.

Or so it seems.

One monster, in particular, has recently risen from the land of horrifying legends to show us its true face.

For centuries, fishermen have shared accounts about giant squids knocking over ships and devouring sailors. Paintings of victims squirming in the grasp of enormous tentacles with suckers have often been the stuff of many seamen’s worst imaginings.

As technology advanced, so did the desire to find the giant squid, known as Architeuthis in Latin.

But, for decades, no camera was able to capture this elusive creature. Eyewitness accounts were not lacking; people have always claimed to have seen them.

Architeuthis sanctipauliwas described in 1877 based on a specimen found washed ashore inÎle Saint-Paulthree years earlier.

However, all the expeditions only resulted in finding dried out parts of tentacles and other body parts. Sometimes large intact squids washed up on the shores of the oceans all over the world, but nothing huge like that monster depicted by Pierre Deny de Monfort in his many paintings.

Colossal Octopus by Pierre Denys de Montfort, 1801

The idea of a truly giant squid of massive size was tossed aside by most after many futile attempts to document its presence. Even the most persistent biologists seemed to give up. It was said to be a fable.

Then, in 2005 there was a major breakthrough.

After ten years of searching, a Japanese team found a hungry giant squid. It was off an island called Chichijima, southeast of Tokyo.

A bait made of shrimp was attached to a line under a remote-controlled camera. This setup was lowered down about 3,000 feet into the Pacific ocean.

Before long, a giant squid latched onto it and tried to pull it away to eat it.

But, one of its tentacles got caught on one of the bait hooks. It struggled aggressively for four hours to get free. When it finally broke away, its tentacle remained stuck to the hook.

The specimen from Goshiki beach is seen here tied with a rope, its delicate skin only partially intact. Muscular constriction around the squid’s eye obscures much of its surface in this image

After it was pulled to the surface, the torn tentacle measured at almost 20 feet long and was still full of life. One of the researchers said the suckers clamped onto his hands.

The research team had managed to find the squid by studying how deep sperm whales dive to find food. These large underwater mammals are known to feed on giant squid. So, the researchers followed the whales and finally took hundreds of pictures of their target.

Since then, Architeuthis has been more easily captured on film.

In June 2019, the footage was taken of it for the first time in American waters. Scientists now believe that there are millions of them scattered all over the oceans of the world.

One of the series of images of a live giant squid taken by Kubodera and Mori in 2004

Architeuthis is perhaps the largest invertebrate, with a total length of between 33-43 feet. It also has the biggest eyes of any creature on the planet, at about 11 inches in diameter; the size of a large dinner plate.

Scientists believe there is an even bigger squid somewhere out there.

One that measures more than 66 ft in length. They call it the colossal squid, or Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni. Many people claim to have seen it, but there is no reliable documentation such as pictures or videos to support their stories.

With enough persistence, someone will find it one day

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