For the first time, researchers have managed to capture video of the oft-fabled giant squid in the depths of the Pacific Ocean, Japan’s National Science Museum announced Monday.
The giant squid has long been fodder for myths and speculation. Several dead ones have been recovered, but scientists have long sought to examine one of the giant beasts in action, with few opportunities so far.
This particular squid was filmed after nearly 100 missions, during which a trio of researchers spent more than 400 hours crammed into a submarine. Nine miles off the island of Chichi-jima, about 550 miles south of mainland Japan, at a depth of a third of a mile, the submarine tracked the giant invertebrate into an ocean abyss.
"Researchers around the world have tried to film giant squid in their natural habitats, but all attempts were in vain before," one of the researchers, Tsunemi Kubodera, told reporters.
The giant squid, caught on video last July, was silver and gray in color, with giant black eyes. It held a "bait squid" in its tentacles as it apparently trolled the ocean depths. The giant squid was at least three meters long (about 10 feet). As large as that is, it's nowhere near the size of the largest ones to be found — dead, scattered across the globe — which have been as large as 18 meters (or nearly 60 feet).
"It was shining and so beautiful," Kubodera told AFP. "I was so thrilled when I saw it first-hand, but I was confident we would because we rigorously researched the areas we might find it, based on past data."
There has been one previous video encounter with a living giant squid, in 2006. But, in that case, the beast was hooked and brought to the surface before the footage was captured.
However, both videographed instances were in the same region of the Pacific, indicating it could be a regular habitat for the giant squid.
The Discovery Channel will air a special documentary on the findings later this month.
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