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Giant squid caught on video by Japanese crew

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
January 8th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

A giant squid discovered in the sea near Chichi Island was spotted at a depth of 630 meters using a submersible in July of last year. Scientists and broadcasters say the elusive giant squid still roams the depths of the Pacific Ocean. The recent footage depicts it in its natural habitat for the first time ever.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The shy monster of the deep is the stuff of legend, with sightings of a huge ocean-dwelling beast reported by sailors for centuries.

The creature is thought to be the genesis of the Nordic legend of Kraken, a sea monster believed to have attacked ships in waters off Scandinavia over the past thousand years.

Using a submersible to descend to the dark and cold depths of the northern Pacific Ocean, at around 2,066 feet they managed to film a three-meter specimen. After around 100 missions, where the crew spent 400 hours in the cramped submarine, the three-man crew tracked the creature from a spot some nine miles east of Chichi Island in the north Pacific.

Museum researcher Tsunemi Kubodera said they followed the enormous mollusk to a depth of 900 meters as it swam into the ocean. Scientists say they have succeeded in filming the elusive deep-sea creature in its habitat for the first time.

The footage depicts a silver-colored creature, which had huge black eyes, as it swam against the current, holding a bait squid in its arms.

"It was shining and so beautiful," Kubodera said the culmination of a lengthy quest for the beast. "I was so thrilled when I saw it first hand, but I was confident we would because we rigorously researched the areas we might find it, based on past data."

Kubodera said the creature had its two longest arms missing, and estimated it would have been eight meters long if it had been whole. He gave no explanation for its missing arms.

The find was the first video footage of a live giant squid in its natural habitat, near the bottom of the sea where there is little oxygen and the weight of the water above exerts enormous pressure.

Kubodera, a squid specialist, also filmed what he says was the first live video footage of a giant squid in 2006, but only from his boat after it was hooked and brought up to the surface.

"Researchers around the world have tried to film giant squid in their natural habitats, but all attempts were in vain before," Kubodera said. "With this footage we hope to discover more about the life of the species," he said, adding that he planned to publish his findings soon.

Two successful sightings of the squid-in 2012 and 2006-were both in the same area, some 1,000 kilometers south of Tokyo, suggesting it could be a major habitat for the species. The giant squid, "Architeuthis" to scientists, is considered one of the last mysteries of the ocean, being part of a world so hostile to humans that it has been little explored.

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