Giant squid reveals itself to us, still no Bigfoot

Last week, we were treated to the clearest video of what was claimed to be a giant squid near the surface from central Japan’s Toyama Bay. A brave diver jumped in to get up close and personal with the rarely seen 12 foot long animal. The video was undoubtedly real but some question remained. Deep Sea News has some answers.

New Video of Giant Squid Surfaces | Deep Sea News

The brave diver told CNN, “My curiosity was way bigger than fear, so I jumped into the water and go close to it.” The animal seemed lively but did not attack.

According to experts Dr. Mike Vecchione and Dr. Chris Mah from the Smithsonian, the individual filmed squid is actually an Architeuthis (pronounced Ark-eh-TOOTH-iss), specifically Architeuthis dux, likely a young one due to its smaller size. There are other species of squid that get very large such as the Colossal Squid but they look considerably different.

Architeuthis dux was named in 1857 based on remains. A. dux are considered to be the largest known cephalopod, the largest known mollusk and, likely, the largest invertebrate ever known to exist (noted up to 60 feet in length and possibly larger including the long tentacles). They also have the largest eye in the animal world. [Source].

The Deep Sea News piece mentions that it is not normal, but it has become a bit common, to see these squid near the surface. That’s not good. It likely means the animals are sick or injured. This individual remained in the bay for several hours and reportedly was then “ushered” back to open water. Perhaps it just took a wrong turn. There was no mention of obtaining any sample from the animal which would have been useful for additional genetic studies.

Giant squid are the stuff of myth, associated with the Kraken of sea-lore, and described far back, into the 4th century BC. Cryptozoologists claim that the discovery of the giant squid as being an actual distinct and real animal is validation of the field of cryptozoology, the search for “hidden” animals. But that statement is not quite so direct as given.

Remains of large squid were well documented. It was known that they were eaten by sperm whales because remains had been found inside their stomachs. Then, in 2004 and in 2012, the animals were filmed alive.

So, we have the legend of sightings of giant tentacled animals and attacks on ships from ancient times and we have a genuine animal that sort of fits that description. But, the equation does not balance on both sides. A large part of cryptozoology is founded in historical accounts. These are accounts we can likely no longer verify or examine in any greater detail. Many existing animals we know well today were greatly exaggerated or misinterpreted in days before scientific observation. We can’t say that all historic accounts of giant squid or kraken can be attributed to A. dux.

The giant squid is not even a good candidate for a cryptid. It was never really “hidden” it was just existing as it always did, in an alien environment off limits to human access. We needed to develop the means to find it with technology. The sea undoubtedly contains many more secrets. Yet, we have found and filmed these monsters. Naturally, these facts will lead to rational rejection of the idea that there are spectacular land-based cryptids such as Yeti and Bigfoot or mysterious lake-based cryptids like Nessie or Champ. We have even greater access to those environments but we have not found any remains or any good quality photo or video documentation. That negative evidence feeds a working conclusion that they do not exist in the imaginative forms proposed in cryptozoology literature.

The natural world is an amazing place full of unique organisms left to discover but that does not mean that Bigfoot is out there. Considering ever more information we have gleaned from giant creatures that exist deep in the ocean trenches, we have less justification to invest in a search for fantastic monster at the surface. If they are really there, we would have found sufficient traces by now or they, like this sub-adult Architeuthis, would have revealed themselves to us.

The torpedo-shaped creature is revealed up close and in vivid color.

The torpedo-shaped creature is revealed up close and in vivid color.

  16 comments for “Giant squid reveals itself to us, still no Bigfoot

  1. Massachusetts
    December 30, 2015 at 2:00 PM

    It’s great to see activity here on the site. I thought doubtful news was in mothballs indefinitely.

    I hope architeuthis isn’t in the midst of an extinction event. We have so little data to go by, of course, but the increased sightings are strange.

  2. December 30, 2015 at 9:10 PM

    Oh, I write when the mood strikes. But actually this time of year is incredibly slow for stories and traffic anyway.

  3. Dolores
    December 30, 2015 at 10:50 PM

    Cryptozoology should be called mythozoology.
    Or just folklore. And that’s being charitable.

  4. Cathy
    January 1, 2016 at 4:26 AM

    In Canberra we have a cryptozoologist who goes by the name of Tim the Yowie Man. I haven’t had any personal contact with him but he was on the radio regularly discussing the strange happenings in the region. If listeners rang with some sort of mystery he was often tasked with solving it. And that’s what he did. He solved mysteries, whether they were animal, vegetable or mineral he would be on the trail and find the most logical answer. Some cryptozoologists are actually out there to answer questions.

  5. January 1, 2016 at 8:33 AM

    Somewhere in time and space, Jules Verne is making a fist pump.

  6. Russian Skeptic
    January 3, 2016 at 4:34 AM

    Thank you for the expression “in mothballs”. One doesn’t routinely gets such things from dictionaries. (In Russian it’s “v naftaline”).

  7. Russian Skeptic
    January 3, 2016 at 4:41 AM

    In fact, Verne’s giant squid scene is absolutely bizarre… I enjoyed the novel greatly when I was 8 years old, but when I decided to re-read it at an age of over 25, I found it disgustingly absurd. Even if giand squids were actually as big as he describes, they would hardly pick up men from a vessel and lift them into the air!

  8. Massachusetts
    January 3, 2016 at 2:42 PM

    You’re welcome. Yes, some of the slang and such we take for granted is very interesting when you really think about it. I’m realizing that I use a lot of these phrases, and many people may not actually know what I’m saying.

    They even vary from one part of the country to the next. I imagine Russian must have some real…hum dingers! 🙂 ok that ones a bit archaic, but fun to pull out every now and then.

  9. Matthew
    January 3, 2016 at 5:04 PM

    It’s incredibly fascinating (and more than a little sad) to see one alive in the shallows like that.

    But it’s jarring how ready people are to take huge leaps of reason. According to some of the comments on that Youtube video, the fact that this animal exists completely justifies belief in bogus stuff like mermaids. Many people seem to think that the giant squid was a myth until just now.

  10. January 3, 2016 at 7:09 PM

    It’s a shame how little people know about nature and animals. It’s not that hard to keep up with news about giant squid but people only seem to grab on to the sensationalism and then comment like they know what they are talking about.

  11. MisterNeutron
    January 4, 2016 at 8:05 AM

    I’ve been trying to think of the last time a creature that existed only in legend was discovered to be real. The example that comes to mind is the gorilla, which was assumed (by Europeans, at least) to be mythical until the mid-19th Century. I can’t think of a more recent example.

    New creatures are being discovered all the time, of course, but none of them was the subject of “tall tales” before its discovery – they were simply unknown and uncataloged.

  12. Massachusetts
    January 4, 2016 at 10:56 AM

    Yes, the usual ignorance. Don’t people take biology in school? Perhaps we teach it incorrectly if so little sticks.

  13. Sean A. Elliott
    January 4, 2016 at 4:24 PM

    In all fairness, it is an adventure story…a work of imaginative fiction. I don’t think it was meant to be a realistic account.

  14. Hiram
    January 6, 2016 at 8:43 AM

    For a long time, the Hoan Kiem turtle was thought to be a mythical animal. Now we know it does exist, since 1967: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/mar/04/turtle-hanoi-hoam-kiem-lake

    It’s not known how many of these are there in the lake. The local people hold the animal sacred and there is a legend about it: http://vietnamnews.vn/print/153968/the-legend-of-the-hoan-kiem-turtle.htm

    There are pranksters on the Internet peddling the idea that the animal feeds on cats. Maybe they meant to say people.

  15. MisterNeutron
    January 6, 2016 at 4:26 PM

    Fascinating! I’ve been to that lake, and had no idea there was such an unusual creature lurking beneath its murky waters.

  16. Russian Skeptic
    January 14, 2016 at 1:42 PM

    However it was. It was meant to be an educational story. The case with Jules Verne is that he, unlike other adventure writers, truly intended to be scientific and to give his readers more or less accurate information on the universe.

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