Thursday, September 29, 2005

I've always loved the smell of ammonia!

When I was a teen, my dad, a phenomenal cook and baker, had me help him more than a few times prep squids for fried (or baked) calamari. In this way, I grew to have a special affinity for the little tentacled carnivores. (I mean, you try severing someone's tentacles, ripping out his beak and entrails, flaying, washing, frying and then eating him without getting a little attached! I'm only human.) Years ago I read Peter "Jaws" Benchley's _Beast_, about ye olde giant squid, and had a blast. (As Fakespeare once said, to flay and love a baby squid is but to love and hope to flay a giant one. Ah, how true.) The fact that ye olde giant squid has never been caught "live" -- but almost always found washed up, dead or dying, reeking of ammonia -- made it that much more intriguing for me. Job's modern leviathan?

Anyway, all that's changed, as some Japanese scientists have finally done it: they have "captured" ye olde giant squid (Architeuthis) -- albeit only on camera.

TOKYO - When a nearly 20-foot long tentacle was hauled aboard his research ship, Tsunemi Kubodera knew he had something big. Then it began sucking on his hands. But what came next excited him most — hundreds of photos of a purplish-red sea monster doing battle 3,000 feet deep.

It was a rare giant squid, a creature that until then had eluded observation in the wild.

Kubodera’s team captured photos of the 26-foot-long beast attacking its bait, then struggling for more than four hours to get free. The squid pulled so hard on the line baited with shrimp that it severed one of its own tentacles.

(Science - - AP - Updated: 2:01 p.m. ET Sept. 28, 2005)

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