Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Modern Day Kraken: Earth's Colossal Squid

For those of you who may not know, our blue marble is called "the blue marble" because the planet is covered in roughly 70% water. Unsurprisingly, humans (habitual land dwellers) often view the ocean with suspicion--it is a strange and alien place. In fact, many biologists and oceanographers assert that we know more about the moon and the inner solar system than we do Earth's oceans (at least at the deepest depths). Since we have evolved to live on land, many people have a deep-rooted fear of the sea...of what lurks just beyond the edge of their favorite beaches and swimming holes.

Well, what if I told you that the monsters are real? That deep sea creatures of gargantuan proportions really do exist? Some of you may not be too surprised, as these creatures have been the subject of myths and folklore since a time predating humanity's first trek into the high seas. In truth, you would be hard-pressed not to have heard of one of these names: the sea serpent, the leviathan, the kraken! We have all likely read about the horrifying stories from unwary fishermen who encountered these massive creatures, or we have seen their likeness in horror movies. The tales generally go something like this: A small fishing vessel capsizes in a turbulent storm at night. A few lucky sailors managed to scramble into a tiny raft. All of a sudden, tentacles erupt from the water. A pinkish red bulge of mass breaks the surface. Eyes the size of an adult dinner plate stare blankly as the tentacles drag the men below the surface.

Although we have technically known about them for centuries, until very recently, these stories were considered by many to be just that: fables, stories, tall tales told by boastful fishermen. Largely, these tales were disbelieved and considered fictitious because the squid were never photographed, neither had they ever been found washed-up on beaches; however, in recent times, fisherman's stories are slowly starting to become fisherman's facts. These creatures actually started washing up on shores around the world, and some have even recorded on video. This article is a brief update about what we know (so far) about these deep sea monstrosities.

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