Scientists Capture Video of Giant Squid 2500 Feet Below the Gulf of Mexico's Surface

Monday, 24 June 2019 - 8:12AM
Monday, 24 June 2019 - 8:12AM
Scientists Capture Video of Giant Squid 2500 Feet Below the Gulf of Mexico's Surface
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Screenshot via NOAA
It's interesting that humans – a weak, fragile, superstitious species – can be so nonchalant about the rising oceans and the problems of fresh water scarcity. You can persist for weeks without food – your body will cannibalize your fat stores and muscle tissue for glycogen – but without water, the longest you'll last is a week or so. Our bodies are 60% water. 71% of the Earth's surface is covered in water, with the oceans containing 96.5% of that: oceans that have yet to really be explored and still yield new species that live without light and under pressures that would burst our cells at their inky depths.


Among those species is one that has long captured the human imagination: the giant squid – Architeuthis dux – which can reach up to 13 meters – 42.5 feet – in length and, as the largest known mollusk, guides itself through the wine-dark seas with the largest eyes of any animal on Earth. Two rows of suckers, each with sharp, serrated rings, line the inner sides of its eight arms and two feeding tentacles making this solitary predator a fearsome match to sperm whales who might try to make a meal of it. Who knows how climate change and rising sea levels are affecting the life cycle and evolution of these marvelous creatures?




With that in mind, you'll be glad to know that a 12-foot-long giant squid has just been captured on video some 2500 feet underwater in the Gulf of Mexico, just 100 miles southeast of New Orleans, by NOAA-funded researchers. The scientists used a fake bioluminescent jellyfish to attract the juvenile-sized cephalopod to within selfie distance of The Medusa, a special camera that uses red light undetectable by the giant squid. As you'll see in the footage below, the giant squid seems to appear out of nowhere, breaking through the liquid darkness with its outstretched tendrils before realizing its error and vanishing back into the void whence it came.





"Our perspective as humans has changed," wrote Dr. Sönke Johnsen, a Duke researcher who was part of the NOAA team. "What were once monsters to be feared are now curious and magnificent creatures that delight. We like to feel that science and exploration has brought about this change, making the world less scary and more wondrous with each new thing we learn."


Perhaps. Or perhaps Dr. Johnsen might consider things from the squids' point of view when it comes to discussion of monsters.
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