Day 68- How we found the giant squid

Since underwater exploration began, man has been looking for the giant squid. This mythical creäture, once named the Kraken, was mythicized as a beast that could devour men and whales and was often the size of an island.
In 2010 oceanographer Edith Widder spoke at a TED conference called ‘Mission Blue’ about exploring the ocean using methods which don’t scare the animals away. She had previously noted a huge variation in the marine life she spotted when using submersibles with the same field of vision but different propulsion methods.
Following her talk, Widder was invited by Mike duGruy to a gathering of squid experts at the Discovery Channel during shark week.
For the squid hunt she decided to use a battery-powered camera with the only illumination from red light, invisible to most deep-sea animals. The ‘Medusa’, as they called it, was thrown off the back of the ship and emitted a blue light designed to mimic the bio-luminescent display of the deep sea jellyfish Atolla.
This electronic jellyfish worked as a lure because the Atolla only produces light when it is being attacked by a predator, when its only hope of survival is attracting a larger predator to attack its attacker.
The approach worked. The scientists managed to capture footage of the Architeuthis. Had its tentacles been fully extended, it would have been the size of a two storey house.
Why was the giant squid not found until now? Only about 5% of the ocean has been explored. Mike du Gruy once said, “If you want to get away from it all and see something you’ve never seen, or have an excellent chance of seeing something that no-ones’ ever seen, get in a sub.”


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