Thursday, May 31, 2007

To kill, or not to kill: The Giant Squid

To scientists the answer to this question would likely be: kill! Kill with all speed, chop up into itty bitty pieces and cure in formaldehyde!
Recently, for the first time, Japanese scientist captured a live mature (mostly?) giant squid. This was the first time anyone had even caught one on film in the wild. Previously everything we knew about giant squid had been learned by studying their carcasses which wash up on shore or get caught in fishing nets and lines. Now for the first time we have photographs, graciously provided for all by National Geographic.
Scientists used bags of pulped shrimp and smaller species of squid as bait on large multi-pronged hooks to capture the beastie. You can see one of the hooks in the photograph of the squid's severed tentacle. Not a very nice 'howdy do'. The Squid tore the tentacle off when it struggled and made its escape. Lucky little devil fish. Call me a cynic if you will, but I just can't imagine scientists hauling a 25 foot long (that's roughly half the size we KNOW a giant squid can grow to, though its perfectly possible they get larger) species of squid that science has never studied up close before all the way up from the blackest depths of the ocean and then just letting it go. It would have probably ended up like this little beauty from the Philippines. Only in a rather larger jar. "Over 100 samples of rare species." If they're so gawdawful rare, perhaps it'd be best not to disturb them so much?
Now I'm not implying that the giant squid is a rare species, far from it. But that shouldn't be any reason to treat one like we can just go down to the store and pick one up, right?

This one reminds me of Cthulhu, encased in a block of ice, awaiting the day when he can wreak his vengeance upon the world, muahhahahaha. Ahem. Pardon me.

(Author's note: This is an old entry that somehow missed getting posted...since then I've become aware that sources are inconsistent in describing exactly what happened to the unfortunate squid. Some say he escaped, sans one tentacle, while others claim that he was hauled aboard and dissected. Personally, I'd like to believe NG when they say he escaped!)

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