Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Next: Big Foot

TOKYO - The giant squid can be found in books and in myths, but for the first time, a team of Japanese scientists has captured on film one of the most mysterious creatures of the deep sea in its natural habitat. The team led by Tsunemi Kubodera, from the National Science Museum in Tokyo, tracked the 26-foot long Architeuthis as it attacked prey nearly 3,000 feet deep off the coast of Japan's Bonin islands. "We believe this is the first time a grown giant squid has been captured on camera in its natural habitat," said Kyoichi Mori, a marine researcher who co-authored a piece in Wednesday's issue of the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. The camera was operated by remote control during research at the end of October 2004, Mori told The Associated Press on Wednesday. Mori said the giant squid, purplish red like its smaller brethren, attacked its quarry aggressively, calling into question the image of the animal as lethargic and slow moving. "Contrary to belief that the giant squid is relatively inactive, the squid we captured on film actively used its enormous tentacles to go after prey," Mori said. "It went after some bait that we had on the end of the camera and became stuck, and left behind a tentacle" about six yards long, Mori said. Kubodera, also reached by the AP, said researchers ran DNA tests on the tentacle and found it matched those of other giant squids found around Japan. "But other sightings were of smaller, or very injured squids washed toward the shore — or of parts of a giant squid," Kubodera said. "This is the first time a full-grown, healthy squid has been sighted in its natural environment in deep water." Kubodera said the giant squid's tentacle would not grow back, but the squid's life was not in danger. Jim Barry, a marine biologist at Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in California, has searched for giant squid on his own expeditions without luck. "It's the holy grail of deep sea animals," he said. "It's one that we have never seen alive, and now someone has video of one."

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5 Comments:

Blogger Gwenny said...

really amazing huh? lots of cool creatures we don't yet know about...if'n we don't poison em before we discover em.

wah wahhhh...just call me Debbie-downer. ;) sorry.

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