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Deep-sea monster caught on tape (with photo)
MSNBC ^ | 4/4/03 | Kathleen Wren

Posted on 04/03/2003 10:00:51 PM PST by Brett66

Deep-sea monster caught on tape

WASHINGTON, Dec. 20 — A ghostly, 23-foot-long creature glides through the deep sea, its gossamer fins billowing against the black water. Its arms, more than half its total length, trail behind like delicate threads. The squid doesn’t react right away to the submarine’s approach, but it shoots away into the dark once the sub gets too close. Researchers have captured scenes like this on videotape eight times, in four different oceans, within recent years. That’s quite a lot of exposure for an animal that no one has reported seeing before.

USING THIS FOOTAGE, an international research team has presented the first scientific description of the new squid, reported Friday by the journal Science and its publisher, the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Although the scientists don’t know exactly how to classify the squid yet, the animal is so unusual that the researchers think they’re looking at something distinctly different from other known squids.

“This is well beyond a new species,” said Michael Vecchione of the National Marine Fisheries Service and the National Museum of Natural History, the lead author of the report in Science. “New species are a dime a dozen. This is fundamentally different.”

Different, yes, but not surprising to researchers like Vecchione. The squid sightings occurred within a relatively short time, in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. This suggests that these creatures are actually quite common in deep waters — they’ve just eluded us until now.

The fact is, compared with what we know about many ecosystems on land and in coastal waters, we know precious little about what lives in the open ocean.

THE LAST FRONTIER It’s fairly well-known that the oceans cover approximately two-thirds of Earth’s surface. But consider how thick the living space is in the sea. While life on land rarely reaches above the tallest tree, life in the oceans can exist at many different depths. The deep water below 3,300 feet (1,000 meters) makes up more than 95 percent of the volume of biosphere.

There is a very practical explanation for why we know so little about the deep sea: It’s extremely expensive to get down there. Many of the deep-sea research missions target hydrothermal vents, shipwrecks or other destinations on the sea floor, according to Vecchione. While scientists are developing a clearer picture of biodiversity on the ocean bottom, their knowledge of what’s swimming around just upstairs is fairly rudimentary.

“This (new squid) is large, and it appears to be fairly common in this ecosystem, yet we know absolutely nothing about it. I think there are many very unusual organisms in the deep sea that we haven’t discovered yet,” he added.

Vecchione also pointed out that many creatures in the open oceans do not behave like their better-known coastal relatives do.

“When we get down there and see what deep-water squids are doing for a living, we’re constantly surprised by their behaviors,” he said.

For example, Vecchione and his colleagues have seen one deep-water squid grab onto another and tow it around, something they’ve never observed coastal species doing. Another kind of squid shoots out ink and hides in the cloud, unlike shallow water squids, which swim away from the cloud.

The squids described in the Science report don’t seem to use their arms for grabbing prey, as shallow water squid do. Instead their arms tend to drift behind them. One squid even got its arms tangled in the submersible, where they seemed to adhere to the vessel’s surface.

Vecchione wondered if the arms might be sticky, so as to capture small crustaceans for food, but cautioned that the idea was pure speculation at this point.

THE NAME GAME

Researchers will have to capture and examine one of the new squids in order to give it a precise, scientific name. But, Vecchione believes these creatures are quite an unusual addition to the current list of deep-water squid.

The squids are quite large, up to 23 feet (7 meters) long. Their most unusual features, however, are their arms, which are much longer than those of other known species. Like the scaffolding beneath an old-fashioned hoop skirt, the arms radiate out from the squid’s body for a short distance. Then, they bend downwards at sharp angles, so that they drift along in the squid’s wake as it swims.

The Science authors speculated that the new squids may be adult members of the recently identified family, Magnapinnidae. Only juvenile squids in this family have been seen before. Or the squids might make up a new family altogether.

Within a family, organisms can be further grouped into genera, and then further into species. So, finding a new family would signify an extremely unusual discovery.

INTO THE DEEP

Assuming the new squid are as common as they seem, why did it take so long to discover them? It’s possible that people just haven’t been looking. Vecchione pointed out that not only do scientists typically head straight for the sea floor in their research vessels, fishermen tend to stay in coastal waters.

Sightings of new life forms in the deep sea may increase somewhat in the future, as open ocean traffic by humans intensifies. Fishermen are now venturing into increasingly deeper waters, and may turn up new specimens in their nets. Oil companies are exploring deeper terrain as well, according to Vecchione.

The deep ocean is vast, however, and not likely to give up its secrets easily. Chances are it will remain a dark, cold mystery for years to come.

© 2001 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science



TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: calamari; cryptozoology; giantsquid; kraken; ocean; sea; squid; xfiles

1 posted on 04/03/2003 10:00:51 PM PST by Brett66
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To: Brett66
Chances are it will remain a dark, cold mystery for years to come.


2 posted on 04/03/2003 10:05:26 PM PST by Slyfox
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To: Brett66
Holy $*@^!!!
3 posted on 04/03/2003 10:05:40 PM PST by Hazzardgate
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To: Brett66
Heard about this. No telling what else is down there.
4 posted on 04/03/2003 10:06:03 PM PST by Ymani Cricket
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To: Brett66
Eerily Lovecraftian beastie.
5 posted on 04/03/2003 10:09:20 PM PST by B-Chan (Ne messez pas avec le Texas)
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To: Brett66
From the headline, I thought that Ted Kennedy had driven off a bridge again.
6 posted on 04/03/2003 10:13:22 PM PST by Young Rhino (France delenda est)
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To: Carry_Okie; blam; RadioAstronomer
Science ping.
7 posted on 04/03/2003 10:19:08 PM PST by farmfriend ( Isaiah 55:10,11)
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To: Slyfox
You beat me to it! Soon as I saw the heading, I knew there'd been another hitlery sighting...
8 posted on 04/03/2003 10:24:24 PM PST by GeishaGirl
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To: B-Chan
Excellent. HP Lovecraft BUMP.

God has provided us with an amazing variety of life.
9 posted on 04/03/2003 10:24:56 PM PST by jbstrick (Behold the Power of CHEESE!)
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To: Brett66
interesting image .... thanks.
10 posted on 04/03/2003 10:26:56 PM PST by Centurion2000 (We are crushing our enemies, seeing him driven before us and hearing the lamentations of the liberal)
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To: Slyfox
LMAO!! Whatta keeper! Calimari, anyone?
"There's only two things in the world that smell like fish.
And one of them is fish"
W.C.Fields
11 posted on 04/03/2003 10:27:30 PM PST by djf
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To: Young Rhino
ROTFLMAO!
12 posted on 04/03/2003 10:28:31 PM PST by jigsaw (God Bless Our Troops!)
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To: Slyfox
Don't look you'll turn to stone !!
13 posted on 04/03/2003 10:33:00 PM PST by quietolong
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To: Brett66
The unfathomable depths hold untold secrets...

Cool, thanks for posting!

(Liked your website, too).

14 posted on 04/03/2003 10:33:15 PM PST by paix
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To: Slyfox
My goodness, that creature looks just like Hillary! It's facial expression seems to be saying "I am going to take over the US Senate and get back at these B@$tards for taking me out of my slimy hole in the ground".
15 posted on 04/03/2003 10:33:42 PM PST by RLJVet
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To: RLJVet
Yikes,! I hit an email address errantly.
16 posted on 04/03/2003 10:34:49 PM PST by RLJVet
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To: Slyfox
Where's the crustycean pantsuit...?
17 posted on 04/03/2003 10:35:57 PM PST by freebilly (I think they've misunderestimated us....)
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To: Jonathon Spectre; FLdeputy
I told you the ocean is full of evil.

It won't be long till they awake the Big Giant Suck Worms!

18 posted on 04/03/2003 10:36:06 PM PST by WolfsView (Barking from the Dawg Pound!)
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To: Slyfox
Nice job Slyfox..
19 posted on 04/03/2003 10:36:57 PM PST by Pro-Bush
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To: Brett66
It's strange, scary, larger than a human being, and someone needs to find it and kill it.
20 posted on 04/03/2003 10:38:11 PM PST by itzmygun
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To: jbstrick
God has provided us with an amazing variety of life.

He has indeed. I e-mailed a link to this article to Kent Hovind, the creationist who kicks up a stir among the evolutionists on a regular basis. Looked like something he'd enjoy.

MM

21 posted on 04/03/2003 10:39:51 PM PST by MississippiMan
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To: Brett66
Researchers will have to capture and examine one of the new squids in order to give it a precise, scientific name.

C'mon, FReepers! Let's get started! Liebermannatee?

22 posted on 04/03/2003 10:40:05 PM PST by rogue yam
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To: RLJVet
I just add a html code, like a paragraph mark. Kills the auto HTML. Frikkin' "@".
23 posted on 04/03/2003 10:42:55 PM PST by Calvin Locke
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To: djf
After looking at that second pic, I'll never eat squid again. Ewwwwwww......

Talk about being put off your feed.
24 posted on 04/03/2003 10:45:06 PM PST by Rasputin_TheMadMonk (Yes I am a bastard, but I'm a free, white, gun owning bastard. Just ask my exwife.)
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To: Calvin Locke
I'll never use frikkin' @ again.
25 posted on 04/03/2003 10:47:03 PM PST by RLJVet
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To: rogue yam
<< Researchers will have to capture and examine one of the new squids in order to give it a precise, scientific name. >>

They just caught a 16' juvenile one.

http://www.msnbc.com/news/894828.asp

Wonder what other sea monsters are down there?
26 posted on 04/03/2003 10:49:04 PM PST by Con X-Poser
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To: Con X-Poser
These are different species.
27 posted on 04/03/2003 10:51:08 PM PST by Krafty123
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To: WolfsView
I told you the ocean is full of evil. It won't be long till they awake the Big Giant Suck Worms!

Gosh... I had no idea I should have been afraid of the ocean. Now I have to hope the Giant Suck Worms don't get me? Too much stress!

28 posted on 04/03/2003 10:52:16 PM PST by HairOfTheDog (May it be a light for you in dark places, when all other lights go out.)
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To: Brett66
There are a couple of stories and pictures on FR about Antartic fishermen catching a "colossal" squid in the last day or two. I'm more
of the hands-on type. And calamari doesn't appeal to me.
29 posted on 04/03/2003 10:55:43 PM PST by Calvin Locke
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To: AriOxman
<< These are different species. >>

How can you be sure? Have you ever seen them mate?
30 posted on 04/03/2003 11:09:20 PM PST by Con X-Poser
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To: Slyfox

31 posted on 04/04/2003 12:32:26 AM PST by quietolong
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To: quietolong

Uncanny resemblance.

32 posted on 04/04/2003 12:36:39 AM PST by struwwelpeter (ot menya starukha ya v pechale!)
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To: B-Chan
Yeah. Shades of Chthulu or the Elder Gods, eh?
33 posted on 04/04/2003 6:22:43 AM PST by Mr. Thorne (Inter armes, silent leges)
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To: Slyfox
Good try, but we all know that the Hildebeast has a fat ass and is not nearly that shapely.
34 posted on 04/04/2003 6:24:56 AM PST by bert (Don't Panic !)
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To: Brett66
Quick, the marinara!
35 posted on 04/04/2003 6:26:50 AM PST by GodBlessRonaldReagan (where is Count Petofi when we need him most?)
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To: farmfriend
Thanks for the ping.
36 posted on 04/04/2003 8:26:09 AM PST by blam
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