Kraken

Frame from footage. (Photo: Japan National Science Museum)

Frame from footage. (Photo: Japan National Science Museum)

Last summer, scientists with Japan’s National Science Museum, in a submersible equipped with  near-infrared beams off the coast of Japan, captured the first footage ever of a giant squid in its natural habitat.

Using a smaller squid as bait, they first encountered the giant squid at 2,066 feet below sea level, then followed it down to 2,952 feet.

Giant squid have appeared in drawings depicting reports by seamen for  thousands of years, but still little is known about them. To date, scientists have described several species of giant squid, all in the Architeuthis genus.

The squid, said to have razor-toothed suckers and eyes the size of dinner plates, was encountered in the black depths after more than 285 hours and 55 submarine dives, some as deep as 3,000 feet below the surface.

Tsunemi Kubodera of Japan’s National Science Museum said the creature would have been eight meters long but it was missing its two longest arms.

Frame from giant squid video.

Frame from giant squid video.

Footage

of the encounter will air in Japan on January 13th on the country’s public broadcasting organization NHK. The Discovery Channel will air the footage in the U.S. on January 27th.

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