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Did you catch Mark Dery's profound feature on the first-ever footage of a giant squid at home in the deep?
Time and again, marauding cephalopods rise out of the fathomless depths of our collective unconscious, from the 12-armed Scylla in Homer’s Odyssey, plucking men from passing ships like canapés off a waiter’s tray, to Pliny’s foul-smelling “polyp,” whose stupefyingly bad breath “tormented the dogs,” to the beached “devil-fish” described in 1879 by the biologist Thomas Kirk. Quoting from an awestruck New Zealander who happened on the carcass, Kirk conjured a “repulsive-looking brute” with tentacles “as thick as a man’s leg,” “horrid goggle eyes,” and “a powerful beak,” reputed by the Maori natives to grab men and rip their insides out. (Duly chastened, the New Zealander vowed, “No more sea-bathing for me!”)The Kraken Wakes: What Architeuthis is Trying to Tell Us
Discovery Channel and Japan's NHK teamed up to capture video of one of the most elusive and fascinating deep ocean creatures: the giant squid. The joint press release announcing the air date of this long-coveted footage contains the sort of prose I wish we were also seeing in this week's round of CES announcements:
With razor-toothed suckers and eyes the size of dinner plates, tales of the creature have been around since ancient times. The Norse legend of the sea monster the Kraken and the Scylla from Greek mythology might have derived from the giant squid. This massive predator has always been shrouded in secrecy, and every attempt to capture a live giant squid on camera in its natural habitat, considered by many to be the Holy Grail of natural history filmmaking, has failed. Until now.
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