PZ Myers posted Entry 1520 on September 28, 2005 12:05 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/1516

Lots of people have been emailing me with the news about this filmed sequence showing a giant squid snagged on a deep line. Did you know that the paper is freely available online (pdf)? It's very cool. The researchers were jigging for squid with a 1km long line, snagged one by a tentacle, and then watched for the next four hours as it struggled to get free.

The squid's initial attack was captured on camera (figure 3a) and shows the two long tentacles characteristic of giant squid wrapped in a ball around the bait. The giant squid became snagged on the squid jig by the club of one of these long tentacles. More than 550 digital images were taken over the subsequent 4 h which record the squid's repeated attempts to detach from the jig. For the first 20 min, the squid disappeared from view as it actively swam away from the camera system. For the next 80 min, the squid repeatedly approached the line, spreading its arms widely (e.g. figure 3b) or enveloping the line. During this period the entire camera system was drawn upwards by the squid from 900 m to a depth of 600 m (figure 3g). Over the subsequent 3 h, the squid and system slowly returned to the planned deployment depth of 1000 m. For the last hour, the line was out of the camera frame, suggesting that the squid was attempting to break free by swimming (finning and/or jetting) away from the system. Four hours and 13 min after becoming snagged, the attached tentacle broke, as seen by sudden slackness in the line (figure 3c versus d ). The severed tentacle remained attached to the line and was retrieved with the camera system (figure 3e). The recovered section of tentacle was still functioning, with the large suckers of the tentacle club repeatedly gripping the boat deck and any offered fingers (figure 3f ).

I've put the figure they describe online. It's a thing of beauty: an 8meter (26 foot) beast attacking the bait. Remind me not to go swimming below 500m, OK?

(figure on Pharyngula)

Commenters are responsible for the content of comments. The opinions expressed in articles, linked materials, and comments are not necessarily those of PandasThumb.org. See our full disclaimer.

Comment #49979

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on September 28, 2005 12:14 PM (e)

That report is incomplete. The researchers recovered a tentacle from that event. Inquiring minds want to know: How did it taste?

Comment #49982

Posted by Moses on September 28, 2005 12:23 PM (e)

My wife made me look at that, this morining. Then I started talking about Giant Squid Pensis. Think I read about them at PZ’s site.

Comment #49984

Posted by Darwin Hater on September 28, 2005 12:41 PM (e)

There’s more evidence for a giant squid than for the darwinian mechanism. I hope some mad darwinist answers this one.

Comment #49985

Posted by Moses on September 28, 2005 12:52 PM (e)

Comment #49984

Posted by Darwin Hater on September 28, 2005 12:41 PM (e) (s)

There’s more evidence for a giant squid than for the darwinian mechanism. I hope some mad darwinist answers this one.

You know, this comment reminds me of ID. For all its sound and fury, it asks nothing, though it demands answers; offers nothing, but makes an assertion.

What was the question to be answered? Was it about the squid? It’s eyes? Or was it about evolutionary processes. And, more to the point, why would anyone care to as the answer, given tens of thousands of times before, has yet to be heard?

Comment #49987

Posted by Paul Marshall on September 28, 2005 12:59 PM (e)

I am no animal rights fanatic. Nothing wrong with killing animals for a good reason. But this seems like gratuitous cruelty. 4 hours of torturing an animal is not cool.

Comment #49990

Posted by CJ O'Brien on September 28, 2005 1:04 PM (e)

You know, this comment reminds me of ID. For all its sound and fury, it asks nothing, though it demands answers; offers nothing, but makes an assertion.

And, it’s stupid. So there’s that.

Comment #50015

Posted by Henry J on September 28, 2005 4:03 PM (e)

Re “Remind me not to go swimming below 500m, OK?”

Ok - don’t go swimming below 500m. :)

(Btw, it’s still a mollusk.)

Henry

Comment #50018

Posted by RBH on September 28, 2005 4:43 PM (e)

Paul Marshall wrote

I am no animal rights fanatic. Nothing wrong with killing animals for a good reason. But this seems like gratuitous cruelty. 4 hours of torturing an animal is not cool.

Read the article. The squid attacked the camera apparatus 900 meters down and got entangled. Just who was Paul expecting to free dive to 900 m. to release it?

RBH

Comment #50026

Posted by NSK on September 28, 2005 5:30 PM (e)

Great news, although I hope we could just observe the animal without mutilating it. Kudos to the Japanese scientists who took these wonderful photos! FYI, I linked to this article from Wikinerds Portal.

Comment #50064

Posted by Vandalhooch on September 29, 2005 1:28 AM (e)

Yippee! I now know what my students will be reading about and discussing in class tommorrow. The ‘cool’ stuff just serves as such a strong hook for struggling kids. (Sorry about the hook reference NSK and Paul Marshall)

Vandalhooch

Comment #50287

Posted by shenda on September 30, 2005 11:02 AM (e)

Has anyone noticed the striking resemblance between the giant squid and the FSM?

Could it actually be that giant squid are the REAL pinnacle of design?!?