GIant squids

Giant Squid are among the most rare organisms known to exist in the world. Most of what has been known about Giant Squid through history has been based on myth and folklore, with little to no documented sightings. The only evidence of these creatures having ever existed had been seen through studies of sperm whales. Sperm whales often dive into very deep waters to hunt for their main food source, the Giant Squid. Many adult Sperm whales surface with scars obtained from battling these large cephalopods, scars in the shape of suction cups, which line each tentacle of the squid. By the turn of the 21st century, the giant squid was one of the few known species to never have been photographed alive in the wild. That all changed on September 30, 2004 when Japanese researchers fishing known sperm whale hunting sight approximately 600 miles south of Tokyo. After 20 attempts on the third day of baiting, an 8-meter (26 foot) adult giant squid was hooked on the line, which held a camera. The individual struggled on the line for approximately 4 hours until freeing itself. The camera took over 500 photographs of the event, which resulted in the animal losing a tentacle in the process. The first video of an individual adult Giant Squid occurred in December of 2006, in which an 11-foot female individual was caught on a baited line. The animal died in the process of bringing it aboard the vessel.

It is ironic that one of the largest animals in the sea has been so difficult to observe by researchers. Being the second largest mollusc on Earth (second only to the Colossal Squid), the Giant Squid grows to a length of 10 to 13 meters depending on the sex (females generally grow to be larger). These animals have the largest eye of any organism (over 30 centimeters in diameter). One feature of these animals, which is a source of interest for biologists, is the nervous system. These animals, like all other cephalopods, have highly developed nervous system, more developed than most other organisms (even humans). There is much mystery surrounding exact biology of the Giant Squid, which drives many researchers to discover more and more about these fascinating animals.

- Sam Furumo

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