Modern oceans may be home to massive, seemingly mythical, squid

Brittany A. Roston - May 25, 2016, 1:49pm CDT
Modern oceans may be home to massive, seemingly mythical, squid

As if murky water you can’t see through wasn’t frightening enough, a newly published study suggests there could be massive squid — the kind you read about in mythological texts and fantasy books — swimming around present-day oceans. Search squid sizes on Google and you’ll see notes about how squids top out around 13m/43ft in length — according to this study, though, the correct size may be closer to 65ft.

The depths of the worlds’ oceans largely remain a mystery, and it’s fun (read: terrifying) to imagine what lies deep within their darkness. Speculation has long existed about how large squid can grow, and every so often an especially large one will surface, usually being found washed ashore on a beach somewhere. One example happened back in late 2013, when a 30ft squid washed up in Cantabria, a Spanish city.

If one lives long enough, though, just how big can a giant squid get? According to a study published in the Journal of Zoology, 10 meters may be the standard length for squid but 20 meters (65ft) “are eminently plausible.” To put that in perspective, these proposed giant squid could be longer than a six-storey building.

The estimate comes from University of St Andrews researcher Charles Paxton, who looked at existing data across several categories, including known mantle length measurements from existing squid, standard measurements, and total length measurements. Interestingly enough, Paxton found that a squid’s beak can help estimate how long the mantle will be, though studies in the past have suggested the same.

Such a massive squid has not been found, though, and mythological reports of kraken and other giant squid are, of course, entirely prone to exaggeration. As for this study, the maximum length is an extrapolation and therefore not necessarily correct.


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