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Giant Squid (Architeuthis) Finally Caught on Film

Japanese scientists have taken the first ever photographs of a living giant squid (Architeuthis) the New York Times reports.

Working some 600 miles south of Tokyo off the Bonin Islands, known in Japan as the Ogasawara Islands, they managed to photograph the creature with a robotic camera at a depth of 3,000 feet. During a struggle lasting more than four hours, the 26-foot-long animal took the proffered bait and eventually broke free, leaving behind an 18-foot length of tentacle.

Evidently while most scientists would give their right arm to photo this mysterious monster of the deep, the (who admittedly has seven more to spare) gave his to remain anonymous. Still it's a wonderful breakthrough and again makes me wonder why we are to spend billions to send men to a certainly barren rock parked in earth orbit when the creatures of the deep that lurk on our very shores remain so poorly understood and the scientist that study them remain relatively under-funded.

Media notes: Stand-by for anchors cracking the inevitable "that's an awful lot of sushi" pay-off line as another breakthrough in the biological sciences is relegated to an "and finally" slot in the network news.

Update: PZ Myers links to this stomach churning account of recent research in the sex lives of giant squid..don't read if the thought of super-sized cephalopod sperm packets is likely to put you off breakfast

September 28, 2005 in Science | Permalink

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