Squid Scandal

It’s not often that I can report a scandal for Squid Friday.

Wednesday night, the History channel aired a program from its new series, Monster Quest, about a supposed ‘giant’ Humboldt squid, and whether it could be the famed Kraken of the past. Though the Humboldt typically are no more than a couple of meters long, they are aggressive, a closer match for Kraken behavior than other, larger squid.

Now, Monster Quest is a pure cryptozoology show, though they do engage scientists, or least seem to engage scientists. This particular show tried something I’ve never seen tried previously: attaching a ‘squid cam’ to a Humboldt squid, and then filming what it uncovers as it dives to deeper depths.

The squid sank down, down, down. Along the way, Humboldts would ‘mouth’ the camera, whether as attack or curiosity is open to interpretation. It was at a 1000 feet that we caught a glimpse that, frankly, had me sitting up and out of my chair.

It was a beautiful, graceful, and large, squid, barely seen in the murky water. How big is hard to say, but you knew as soon as you looked at it, that it was significantly larger than the Humboldt carrying the camera. Here’s a portion of the video, though it doesn’t do justice to the larger squid image.

I immediately located a Tonmo thread on the film and have been following the debate associated with this film. It especially got interesting when Scott Cassell, who assisted with the show, left a note debunking most of the supposed facts, including the squid measurements.

The original size proposed by the show writers was that this squid was 108 feet long. They came up with this value by measuring distances based on what they decided was an eye reflection. Well, few people in the Tonmo thread bought into this, including Scott, but he did propose that it could be a 25 foot, or more, Architeuthis. That’s Latin for my favorite, Giant Squid.

If the squid was an Architeuthis, then this is still a very exciting discovery. The only other film of a live Architeuthis was hooked on a fishing line, which is an unnatural environment for the creature. This film would show the squid in very realistic surroundings. In addition, show it in waters that I didn’t think had evidence of Architeuthis.

Dr. O’Shea is attempting to get a better copy of the video, and I imagine he’ll have excellent input into what the squid is. In the meantime, the cryptos are having fun.

update

A better video.

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