Tuesday, October 16, 2012

20,000 Leagues Under The Sea

For years sailors have told stories of vicious sea monsters big enough to swallow a ship whole. Considered one of the “fathers of science fiction”, Jules Verne in 1870 wrote the novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea which took the world by storm. This classic work of fiction narrates the story of Captain Nemo and his submarine the Nautilus which is attacked by a giant squid...OBVIOUSLY this isn’t the entire story, just the most memorable part. His novel began a genre revolution of adaptations and variations of his book made into films, comic books and graphic novels

Hold on to your undies because this guy isn’t just part of science fiction… the Colossal Squid.

Thought once to have been stuff from legends very little is known about this critter. Scientists believe the colossal squid can weigh over 1,600 lbs and reach lengths of over 43 feet!?! Bigger than a school bus, we might need something larger than a california king bed to snuggle up with this guy. Living in deep (3,000-6,000 ft) and frigid Antarctic waters, fragments of beaks, tentacles and partially digested bodies found in the stomachs of sperm whales were the only proof of this elusive creature. It wasn’t until 2007, when a fishing boat off the coast of New Zealand accidentally caught one that scientists were finally able to put the pieces together. Hauled on board by the fisherman and kept frozen until they reached the Te Papa Museum in New Zealand, this was the first time that a live specimen could be studied. And…what did they find??? Well, SHE weighed 1,000 pounds, had a length of 33 feet, had eyes approximately 13 inches in diameter, had 26 swiveling hooks on the end of each tentacle and was ONLY a baby. Like tree rings, squid contain an equilibrium organ which grooves as they age ... and she was only 18 months old. Scientists also discovered that these gigantic creatures have a slow metabolism signifying that they move slower than once thought. Contrary to beliefs, this new found knowledge indicates that these guys are more like floating blobs than monstrous beasts. So… while we are still in pursuit of the Colossal Squid one thing is for certain; these guys would make some tire sized calamari.
To learn more here’s a link to the Te Papa Museum where the specimen is up for display:
Discovery Channel created a documentary of the squid that was caught off the coast of New Zealand it’s called Colossal Squid/Squid invasion it’s a 2 episode series … you can find it on Netflix’s… check it out!!!


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