Release the kraken!
A colossal squid caught in the remote waters of Antarctica eight months ago is finally being inspected. The 770-pound creature had been frozen until Tuesday, when scientists were ready to thaw the animal out. The squid is said to be as long as a minibus, with eyes measuring 35 cm in diameter. It’s so giant, that scientists actually had to use a forklift just to maneuver the beast into a tank.
— Te Papa (@Te_Papa) September 16, 2014
The squid is a female, and is the second one caught by Capt. John Bennett, according to the Associated Press. He caught the first one seven years ago, and it can still be found on display at New Zealand’s national museum, Te Papa. Because there was so much excitement about the first catch, Bennet wanted to save his latest one for research.
“It was partly alive, it was still hanging onto the fish,” Bennett told the AP. “Just a big bulk in the water. They’re huge, and the mantle’s all filled with water. It’s quite an awesome sight.”
Colossal squid sightings are the stuff of legends; it’s extremely rare to actually spot one. For that reason, scientists are using this valuable opportunity to find out more about how the animal lives and dies, where it fits into the food chain, and just how much genetic variation exists between the different species.
Because who knows, maybe the kraken really is out there.