The giant squid, or Architeuthis, is one of those creatures that until recently was shrouded in myth and legend, partially because they live in such crushing depths we’d never gotten close to them. The closest we’ve gotten is stumbling across their corpses on beaches and a few photos of live specimens.
Now NHK and the Discovery Channel have found one in its natural habitat.
We’ve captured video of the giant squid before, back in 2006, which was achieved by using a smaller squid as bait. But that was on the surface of the ocean.
This footage, shot by the same team, involved going nearly half a mile beneath the ocean to film the squid in action:
Modern-day scientists on their own Moby Dick-style search used a submersible to descend to the dark and cold depths of the northern Pacific Ocean, where at around 630 metres (2,066 feet) they managed to film a three-metre specimen. After around 100 missions, during which they spent 400 hours in the cramped submarine, the three-man crew tracked the creature from a spot some 15 kilometres (nine miles) east of Chichi island in the north Pacific.
The really fascinating thing about this is that we might finally learn more about Architeuthis. We have no idea about its reproductive cycle, and in fact it was a surprise to discover it was an aggressive feeder, instead of drifting through the waves eating poop boogers like other deep-sea “nightmares”.
It also means, since the giant squid is the inspiration for so many Kraken legends, that we can officially start making “Unleash the Kraken!” jokes again, so that’s a bonus.
For those who actually care about science, a documentary discussing the mission and showing the footage that it gathered will be airing on the Discovery Channel January 27th.