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Giant squid filmed for the first time

AFP
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A giant squid swims in the deep sea off Chichi island, Japan.photo: AP
A giant squid swims in the deep sea off Chichi island, Japan.photo: AP

Scientists and broadcasters said Monday they have captured footage of an elusive giant squid, up to eight metres (26 feet) long that roams the depths of the Pacific Ocean.

Japan's National Science Museum succeeded in filming the deep-sea creature in its natural habitat for the first time, working with Japanese public broadcaster NHK and the US Discovery Channel.

Stuff of legend

The massive invertebrate is the stuff of legend, with sightings of a huge ocean-dwelling beast reported by sailors for centuries.

The creature is thought to be the genesis of the Nordic legend of Kraken, a sea monster believed to have attacked ships in waters off Scandinavia over the last millennium.

Modern-day scientists on their own Moby Dick-style search used a submersible to get them into the dark and cold depths of the northern Pacific Ocean, where at around 630 metres they managed to film a three-metre specimen. It took around 100 missions, during which they spent 400 hours in the cramped submarine.

NHK showed footage of the silver-coloured creature, which had huge black eyes, as it swam against the current, holding a bait squid in its arms.

“With this footage we hope to discover more about the life of the species,” museum researcher Tsunemi Kubodera said. Kubodera said the two successful sightings of the squid -- in 2012 and 2006 -- were both in the same area, suggesting it could be a major habitat for the species.

The giant squid, “Architeuthis” to scientists, is sometimes described as one of the last mysteries of the ocean, being part of a world so hostile to humans that it has been little explored. Researchers say it can grow to be longer than 10 metres.AFP


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