Museum livestreams colossal squid research

Tuesday, September 16, 2014, 2:16 PM – Colossal squid live so deep you’ll almost never encounter one, but thousands of people got a chance to see one being dissected, livestreamed over the internet.

The largest known cephalopods can grow to be up to 14 m long, but live at depths of more than 1,000 m. The one that you see in the YouTube video below was hauled up by Captain John Bennett and his crew in the waters near Antarctica eight months ago.

It was rushed back to New Zealand, where it was put on ice until it could be thawed out in the proper scientific conditions, and filmed.

According to the Associated Press, around 140,000 people from 180 countries tuned in to watch at least part of the livestream, carried out at New Zealand’s Te Papa museum by a team from the Auckland University of Technology.
The specimen is enormous, weighing in at more than 700 lbs, with each tentacle stretching more than a metre, to say nothing of the bulk of the creature’s mantle.

Bennett, whose crew hauled it up while fishing for toothfish, has helped out the museum before. Have a look at the first colossal squid he bagged, way back in 2007.

Both of Bennett’s squids were caught uintentionally They were gnawing stubbornly on toothfish hooked by deep sea lines.

“It was partly alive, it was still hanging onto the fish,” Bennett told the Associated Press. “Just a big bulk in the water. They’re huge, and the mantle’s all filled with water. It’s quite an awesome sight.”

Squid expert Kat Bolstad, who led the autopsy team, said the find was a great chance to learn more about a little known species.

“This is essentially an intact specimen, which is almost an unparalleled opportunity for us to examine,” she said.

With files from the Associated Press.

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