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Super squid surfaces in Antarctic
BBC News ^ | today | Kim Griggs

Posted on 04/02/2003 4:14:29 PM PST by Rodney King

A colossal squid has been caught in Antarctic waters, the first example of Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni retrieved virtually intact from the surface of the ocean.

"All we knew prior to this specimen coming through was that this animal lived in the abyssal environment down in Antarctica," New Zealand squid expert and senior research fellow at Auckland University of Technology, Dr Steve O'Shea, told BBC News Online. "Now we know that it is moving right through the water column, right up to the very surface and it grows to a spectacular size." Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni was first identified in 1925 after two arms were recovered from a sperm whale's stomach.

There have only ever been six specimens of this squid recovered: five have come from the stomachs of sperm whales and the sixth was caught in a trawl net at a depth of 2,000 to 2,200 metres.

"It's been known since 1925, but no one really paid any attention to it," Dr O'Shea said. "Now we can say that it attains a size larger than the giant squid. Giant squid is no longer the largest squid that's out there. We've got something that's even larger, and not just larger but an order of magnitude meaner."

This squid has one of the largest beaks known of any squid and also has unique swivelling hooks on the clubs at the ends of its tentacles.

This combination allows it to attack fish as large as the Patagonian toothfish and probably to also attempt to maul sperm whales.

"When this animal was alive, it really has to be one of the most frightening predators out there. It's without parallel in the oceans," Dr O'Shea said. The specimen, which was caught in the past few weeks in the Ross Sea, has a mantle length of 2.5 metres. That is a larger mantle than any giant squid that Dr O'Shea has seen and this specimen is still immature, the NZ scientist believes.

"It's only half to two-thirds grown, so it grows up to four metres in mantle length." By comparison, the mantle of the giant squid, Architeuthis dux , is not known to attain more than 2.25 metres.

The squid researchers are calling Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni the "colossal squid".

"We'd like to give this animal the name colossal squid in order to have a common name for it as opposed to just the scientific name," said Kat Bolstad, research associate at Auckland University of Technology. "We feel that colossal conveys both the size and the aggressiveness of the animal.

"This animal, armed as it is with the hooks and the beak that it has, not only is colossal in size but is going to be a phenomenal predator and something you are not going to want to meet in the water."


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: antarctica; calamari; cryptozoology; giantsquid; kraken; squid
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There are some pics if you click the link.
1 posted on 04/02/2003 4:14:29 PM PST by Rodney King
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To: Rodney King

That's a lot of calamari!

2 posted on 04/02/2003 4:18:22 PM PST by Redcloak (All work and no FReep makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no FReep make s Jack a dul boy. Allwork an)
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To: Rodney King
Fried Calamari, anyone?
3 posted on 04/02/2003 4:18:45 PM PST by kimchi lover (When will the left learn that Bush is NOT the enemy?)
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To: gkhong
Squidward!

Where's his clarinet?
4 posted on 04/02/2003 4:20:52 PM PST by rdax
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To: Rodney King
But how's the taste?

So9

5 posted on 04/02/2003 4:21:36 PM PST by Servant of the Nine (We are the Hegemon. We can do anything we damned well please.)
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To: Rodney King
Well, I don't know about super...


6 posted on 04/02/2003 4:22:13 PM PST by Slyfox
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To: Rodney King
This is fascinating. It's also refreshing to hear scientists finally admit they don't know it all better. They'd like you to believe they have a monopoly on knowledge and their opinions are infallibly god breathed.
7 posted on 04/02/2003 4:22:30 PM PST by nmh
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To: Rodney King
Thank you for this great post. I wonder what the length of the tentacles are.
8 posted on 04/02/2003 4:22:43 PM PST by Gatún(CraigIsaMangoTreeLawyer)
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To: Rodney King

So9

9 posted on 04/02/2003 4:22:55 PM PST by Servant of the Nine (We are the Hegemon. We can do anything we damned well please.)
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To: Redcloak
O think I saw a tentacle move!
10 posted on 04/02/2003 4:23:06 PM PST by RobRoy
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To: Redcloak
In other news, Iraq launches elite Airborne Republican Guard Calamari:


11 posted on 04/02/2003 4:23:31 PM PST by Gamecock (IF YOU HAVE TO BE ONE, BE A BIG RED ONE! No Mission too Difficult! No Sacrifice too Great!)
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To: RobRoy
O = I I can't spell...
12 posted on 04/02/2003 4:24:14 PM PST by RobRoy
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To: Rodney King

I think you're gonna need a bigger boat!

13 posted on 04/02/2003 4:24:15 PM PST by StriperSniper (Frogs are for gigging)
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To: Rodney King
"When this animal was alive, it really has to be one of the most frightening predators out there. It's without parallel in the oceans," Dr O'Shea said.

And yet they are found in the stomachs of Sperm Whales.

14 posted on 04/02/2003 4:24:40 PM PST by Double Tap
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To: RobRoy
You've had one too many RobRoys! It's not moving (at least I didn't see it move).
15 posted on 04/02/2003 4:24:59 PM PST by Slip18
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To: Rodney King
Only at Free Republic can we take a break from the war to opine over a colossal squid.
16 posted on 04/02/2003 4:25:54 PM PST by 3catsanadog (When anything goes, everything will.)
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To: harpseal; Travis McGee
Lighthearted ping.
17 posted on 04/02/2003 4:25:58 PM PST by Black Agnes
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To: Rodney King
Squidzilla.
18 posted on 04/02/2003 4:26:55 PM PST by mewzilla
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To: Slyfox
Well that IS the grosses thing I've ever seen. Looks just like that bitc... I mean witch Hillary. Ugh!
19 posted on 04/02/2003 4:27:38 PM PST by beachn4fun (It is ok to be anti-war, just don't bash and belittle our President and our Troops......)
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To: 3catsanadog
Apparently these squid are sized the same as olives. They come in "giant" and "collosal"!

There are no "normal" squid so don't go looking for any.
20 posted on 04/02/2003 4:28:53 PM PST by BigBobber
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