Science

In the Gulf of Mexico have found giant squid

In the Gulf of Mexico have found giant squid”

The footage shows the tentacles of a giant sea animal underwater in pitch darkness.

Six years later a research team collaborating with the Discovery Channel spotted another, this time filming it in its natural habitat thousands of feet beneath the surface. As the NYT notes, the story actually gets more dramatic from there - lightning hit the research vessel just moments after this video was filmed, leading to panic that the strike might have damaged sensitive electronics and corrupted the footage.

Scientists had used a specialized camera system developed by Widder called The Medusa, which uses red light undetectable to deep sea creatures and has allowed scientists to discover new species and observe other elusive ones.

Researchers with the NOAA's Journey into Midnight expedition announced the discovery in a blog post this week.

The researchers spent the previous fortnight examining deep areas of the Gulf of Mexico to unlock the secrets of life in a lightless world.

Among those species is one that has long captured the human imagination: the giant squid - Architeuthis dux - which can reach up to 13 meters - 42.5 feet - in length and, as the largest known mollusk, guides itself through the wine-dark seas with the largest eyes of any animal on Earth.

This, the team announced, proved to be "an enormous set of arms and tentacles coming in to attack the e-jelly".

Nathan Robinson, Sonke Johnsen, Tracey Sutton, Nick Allen, Edie Widder, and Megan McCall gather around to watch the squid video.

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'It was also big, but because it was coming straight at the camera, it was impossible to tell exactly how big.

That creature turned out to be a large squid - which researchers estimated to be roughly 10 to 12 feet long.

But, the excitement wasn't over.

With further examination by squid expert Dr Michael Vecchione at the NOAA National Marine Fisheries Services, the team confirmed what they'd just seen with near-certainty.

The discovery now adds a fascinating insight to the behaviour of the extremely elusive aquatic animal. However, a group of scientists on a research mission in the Gulf of Mexico acquired to do both.

The researchers say it is the first time a giant squid has been noticed in US waters, and Edie Widder, one of many leaders of the group, told the Washington Post it was "one of the incredible days at sea I've ever had".

"The giant squid is big and certainly unusual from our human perspective, but if the video shows something of the animal's character, it shows an animal surprised by its error, retreating after striking something that at first must have seemed attractive, but obviously it was not food, "said NOAA specialists".



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