Squids used to have shells. Here's how they lost them.

Squid ancestors were happy creatures with shells until about 400 million years ago, when the emergence of fish with jaws set off an evolutionary arms race between fish and cephalopods. Read the rest

Watch this giant squid latch onto a guy's paddleboard

Hell to the no. As evidenced by this video shot off the coast of West Africa, a large squid wrapped his tentacles around a guy's paddleboard.

The paddleboarder, a man named James Taylor, discovered the ailing squid while "walking down the beach for a paddle," he told Earth Touch.

"I thought it was a big piece of kelp, then I thought it was a piece of plastic, but that also didn't look right. It was only when I got closer that I saw it was a squid of some sort."

Once he got into the water, he realized enormous sea creature was sick. He noticed it was not only lethargic but missing tentacles and covered in bite marks. He says, "I wanted to try get it to the beach for research purposes before it got more damaged by seals in the area."

As you'll see in the footage, he does get it to shore. At around the 2:09 mark, it's obvious the squid has died. That's when Taylor gets help dragging it to the beach. At the end of the video, the beast is shown ejaculating spermatophores, packets of sperm and protein, leading some to believe it died during "violent sex."

Mike Vecchione, a research zoologist at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History believes the animal is a giant squid (genus Architeuthis), not a Humboldt squid as some have claimed, stating, "The footage on the beach looks like a giant squid to me." Read the rest

See this giant squid caught on video!

A majestic giant squid (Architeuthis) made the scene at Toyama Bay in central Japan. At an estimated 3.7 meters (12.1 feet), researchers think this was a juvenile.

"My curiosity was way bigger than fear, so I jumped into the water and go close to it," Diving Shop Kaiyu proprietor Akinobu Kimura told CNN.

"This squid was not damaged and looked lively, spurting ink and trying to entangle his tentacles around me. I guided the squid toward to the ocean, several hundred meters from the area it was found in, and it disappeared into the deep sea."

For more on the mystery and science of the giant squid, don't miss Mark Dery's classic Boing Boing feature: "The Kraken Wakes: What Architeuthis is Trying to Tell Us"

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A global society of squid

It's a small squid world, after all. A recent study shows that giant squid from all around the globe have remarkably low levels of genetic diversity — essentially, writes Tina Hesman Saey, they're all more closely related than scientists previously thought. Giant squid, as it turns out, are a single species, traveling, living, and breeding all around the planet. Read the rest

The Kraken vs. Mark Dery

Did you catch Mark Dery's profound feature on the first-ever footage of a giant squid at home in the deep: The Kraken Wakes: What Architeuthis is Trying to Tell Us

Release the kraken!

What do you need to catch a giant squid? At The Verge, Arikia Millikan goes behind-the-scenes on the recent, successful expedition to capture the kraken on video for the first time. Read the rest

Kraken video to be released

Still from video of giant squid, courtesy NHK/NEP/Discovery Channel.

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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