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
Discovery Channel's Monster Squid: The Giant Is Real will premiere in the US on Sunday, January 27, 2013 at 10/9c as the season finale of Curiosity. In Japan, NHK airs their special also this month.
Above and below in this blog post, still images taken from their video of the "glittering," 10-foot-long cephalopod. The team encountered it last July about one kilometer below the surface of the sea near Japan's Ogasawara Islands, about 620 miles south of Tokyo.
According to the announcement, the Discovery/NHK joint production team spent more than 285 hours in the abyss, with 55 sub dives, some at depths of over 3,000 feet. The crew included scientists such as oceanographer and marine biologist Dr. Edie Widder, marine biologist Steve O'Shea and zoologist Dr. Tsunemi Kobodera of the National Science Museum of Japan, in addition to engineers, technicians and sub pilots.
They used "two deep sea submersibles with panoramic views, ultra-sensitive camera systems with light invisible to squid, bio luminescent lures and secret squid attractants." I hope we'll hear more about the camera rig and cinematography.
In an interview with AFP, Kubodera said the giant squid would have measured eight meters long if its two longest arms weren't missing.
"He gave no explanation for its missing arms."