The legendary giant squid, once thought to be a myth, is an elusive creature that has captivated the imaginations of humans since we first set out on the sea. Mariners have reported sightings of the giant squid for hundreds of years, but the reports were often thought to be cases of misidentification or simply cautionary tales of the dangers of ocean travel.
These notions came to rest in the mid 16th century, when the first recorded specimen of giant squid washed ashore alive near a town in Denmark. Sightings of giant squid have picked up since then with improvements in research and technology, three of particular note which have taken place in the last decade.
First Live Giant Squid Recorded in Natural Habitat
On September 30, 2004, the giant squid was filmed in its natural habitat for the first time. A Japanese team, led by zoologist Tsunemi Kubodera, baited a line off the coast of the Ogasawara Islands of Japan. The team took multiple still photos of the squid showing its attack on the bait. This was the first time the squid’s hunting habits were caught on film.
First Live Giant Squid Video Emerges
In July of 2012, after continued research, Tsunemi Kubodera’s team became the first to obtain video of the giant squid in its natural habitat. As with the 2004 expedition, the team baited a line to entice the giant squid to come close enough for them to observe and film the squids hunting habits. The team witnessed the squid swimming against the current while holding on to the bait.
Largest Mediterranean Specimen Washes Ashore
The largest specimen ever found in the Mediterranean Sea was found on October 10, 2012 washed up on a beach in Andalucia, Spain. The specimen was dead when it was found, but was otherwise completely intact. Dissection of this squid in February of 2013 showed it to be thinner than the typical giant squid. This squid was preserved and displayed to the public.
Giant squid sightings have occurred since the beginning of maritime history, but the last 10 years have given scientists the most complete information about the giant squid to date. These giant squid sightings are certainly not going to be the last. As science searches for more information about the giant squid, sightings will become more plentiful. With more sightings, the legend of the giant squid will become more real than ever before.