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SKEPTOID BLOG:

About That Amazing Giant Squid Footage

by Alison Hudson

January 10, 2013

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Donate By now you may have already heard about the amazing video footage of a giant squid that's about to air on the Discovery Channel later this month. You may have even seen some of the still images they've released. It's a great science story, the kind that actually draws interest beyond the academic community and draws coverage from the mainstream press -- and that's always a good thing.

You probably haven't seen the video, since the Discovery Channel is smartly sitting on the footage and ruthlessly squashing attempts to post it on the Internet. They have released a small clip to media outlets, which you can see in the news story below [WARNING: Contains inane morning show banter]:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1KN5N1QDaRQ&w=560&h=315]

I won't repeat all the details of the video's origins here; there are plenty of news stories out there where you can get that. Sufficed to say that this was an expedition by a Japanese crew, co-funded by Japanese television station NHK and the American-based Discovery Channel. It's airing in Japan first, before airing on Duscovery Channel on January 27th.

Of interest to me here on the Skeptoid blog is how the giant squid is, again, an example of the stark contrast between a real hidden animal and a legendary cryptid. To whit: there was a time when people wondered whether the giant squid actually existed. However, because it actually did exist, the credible evidence for the giant squid accumulated over the years. What began as tales of the Kraken became more credible tales of a giant squid, which was eventually supported by piecemeal biological evidence, and then complete corpses, and then photographs, and then video. And not blurry photographs, and not grainy video; but actual, useful visual records.

Compare the story of the giant squid to that most well known of waterborne crypids, the Loch Ness Monster.
  • The giant squid lives in the Pacific Ocean, which covers more than 63 million square miles of the Earth's surface; the Loch Ness Monster lives in Loch Ness, which covers just under 22 square miles of the Earth's surface.

  • Only a handful of expeditions have ever set out to film the giant squid; meanwhile, many people, including professional cryptozoologists, visit Loch Ness every year hoping to see the Loch Ness Monster, cameras in hand.

  • Submarine missions to find the giant squid had to dive half a kilometer (a third of a mile) deep or more to find their prey; submarine expeditions in Loch Ness only had to deal with depths up to 745 ft. (227m).

All the odds would seem to be stacked against the giant squid, and yet there has never been a video of Nessie even remotely close to this incredible footage. Nor has there been a single corpse (plenty of giant squid corpses have washed ashore), nor a single part of a corpse (bits of giant squid have also been known to wash ashore), nor any sort of unambiguous evidence that says, yes, there is something swimming around in that lake. Against the odds, the giant squid came out victorious. Why? Because it was actually there.

I plan to thoroughly enjoy the Discovery Channel special when it airs later this month. Not only because the giant squid is fascinating, but because the giant squid is a real hidden animal that we've finally captured on tape.

by Alison Hudson

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