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On "Colossal" squid
OK, I know it is a little off-topic here, but I realise that the recent
reports on the "colossal" squid _Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni_ raises some
interesting questions... I do hope some people on this list have some
answers to my questions...
1) I quote from the Reuters & AFP articles:
"...American marine biologist Kat Bolstad said the colossal squid was a more
dangerous animal than the giant squid, the mythical monster of the deep that
attacked Captain Nemo's Nautilus in Jules Verne's "Twenty Thousand Leagues
Under the Sea."
"This is a very aggressive animal and moves quickly. If you fell in the
water next to it you would be in big trouble," said Bolstad."
"Never before has such a large, intact specimen been pulled up. "It's a true
monster of the deep. This thing leaves the giant squid for dead. It would
kill you if you fell in," said Dr O'Shea."
How would they know this? Both _Architeuthis_ & _Mesonychoteuthis_ care
virtually unknown. To me, it's like debating who was more dangerous:
_Tyrannosaurus_ or _Giganotosaurus_? (Shows the futility of arguing over
2) "Last year Dr O'Shea captured the world's first live film footage of
giant squid, revealing them as passive deep water drifters. He said he now
wanted to film the more dynamic colossal squid, capable of snapping
submarine telephone cables and hunting penguins."
Oh my God. Since when have _Architeuthis_ been filmed live? Have I been
missing anything? I always thought that the giant squid was an almost
legendary creature never seen in its natural habitat. But I'd like to ask
how people know that colossal squid have snapped submarine telephone cables
& hunted penguins? (And I thought those Humboldt squid _Dosidicus gigas_
were deadly enough. Now we have a new near-mythical mollusc.)
You know, it seems kind of sad now that _Architeuthis_ may be dethroned as
the world's biggest invertebrate. Guess it feels the same when I first
learned of the discovery of _Giganotosaurus_ & when the _Spinosaurus_ killed
good ol' _Tyrannosaurus_ in JP3. It seems almost... tragic. First we finally
start unravelling the secrets of one of our last great monsters, now it has
to suffer the double indignity of being dethroned by some upstart who makes
researchers go ga-ga like kids on sugar to the media on how it could kick
the former title-holder's a**. (This applies both to the giant squid &
T-rex.) But I digress...
But I suddenly recall the existence of some pretty huge squid in the Western
Interior Seaway, _Niobrarateuthis walkeri_ if I can recall correctly (Dan
Varner, any info?) Does anyone know whether it was an quick, active predator
of large prey or was it slower & subsisting more on small fish & the like?
Just started wondering how it would be like if a _Tylosaurus_ or
_Mosasaurus_ tried to attack one. Hmm... the Mesozoic analog of _Physeter
catodon_ versus _Architeuthis dux_ (or _Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni_?)
It just boggles the mind on the astounding variety of large predatory &
piscivorous animals in the Western Interior Seaway. Huge elasmosaurs, giant
mossaurs, razor-toothed Ginsu sharks (among others), swift polycotylids, not
to mention seagoing crocodiles, birds, pterosaurs, ammonites, turtles,
_Xiphactinus_, _Enchodus_, _Protosphyraena_ & goodness knows what else. How
could a young squid (fresh from the eggcase) survive long enough to reach
such a colossal size?
Or just visualise this: It's a fine, breezy day along the shores of the
Western Interior Seaway. A local typhoon has just passed, & in its wake it
has beached a large mosasaur on the beach on an island just off the coast.
By noon the large, fetid hunk of flesh starts to smell, attracting flocks of
_Ichthyornis_ & several pterosaurs, while small
sharks feast n the rear end of the animals, which is underwater. Eventually,
the local tyrannosaurs follow their noses to the coast, & they begin
swimming the short distance. But as half a dozen tyrannosaurs begin swimming
furiously, suddenly the lead tyrannosaur disappears underwater. It
resurfaces, screaming in fear, as the water around it turns red. A tentacle
wraps around its neck, the creature below pulls, & the tyrannosaur vanishes
forever, as the other tyrannosaurs turn tail & head back to the shore. Once
again, the cephalopods have turned the tables on those other big-brained (in
relative terms) vertebrates. ;)
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