Monday, October 31, 2005


I'd better put a nerd alert here so no-one will waste a read.

In April 2003, a 2.5 metre long female squid was dragged from the Ross Sea off Antarctica. It was then the largest squid recorded and was still a juvenile.
In July 2005, Bruce Deagle of the University of Tasmania and his team analysed the gut contents of a male giant squid caught off the west coast of Tasmania in 1999. They found three tentacle fragments and 12 squid beaks which suggested cannibalism. This was the 2nd time cannibalism had been documented.
The first time cannibalism was suggested, Steve O'Shea from New Zealand suspected it was accidental. O'Shea said, "The male giant squid has to use a puny 15-gram brain to coordinate 150 kilograms of weight, 10 metres of length and a 1.5 metre long penis. He physically plunges this penis into the female's arms, which are rather unfortunately right next to her beak. Because he is coordinating so much with so little, I think occasionally bits get chewed off when they inadvertently get too close to the beak." ( I had to put this in, it's such a bloke thing)
However the Tasmanian squid was a male so cannibalism is likely to be intentional. (unless like half the animal kingdom, they're bent)

Japanese researchers in a fishing boat, using sperm whales as a guide to pinpoint the giant squid's haunts, caught pictures of an 8 metre long squid with a cheap camera. The squid was attracted towards the camera attached to a baited fishing line, 900 metres down. The researchers found that instead of being fairly inactive and drifting around waiting for fish to come to them, the squid are agressive predators.
Mark Norman of Museum Victoria said, "The pictures show an animal that's more like a python striking a rat". One of the tentacles was snagged on the line and it's not only armed with suckers, but each sucker is ringed with tiny teeth. These are the only photos of an animal talked about for centuries.

The point of all this rambling (is anyone still with me?) is that G.W. Bush has given NASA the go-ahead to return to the moon. NASA says we have so much to learn about the moon by going back there and besides we want to build a base there. This from an agency that can't fix a telescope in space that's given us so much information. Okay off base, back on.

We know very little about the deep ocean. Deep sea explorers are sure there are bigger animals than the giant squid. Not that America isn't snooping around down there. Bob Ballard only found the Titanic by accident when looking for two sunken nuclear subs for the US Navy. But while America is looking up the Chinese are looking down. They're constructing a deep sea submersible (Clive Cussler, anyone) to explore the ocean floor for minerals and if they find them, they own them.

We live on a water planet not on the moon. When the ice melts and the oceans rise l'd like to know what's coming in with the tide.

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