What’s the smell like?

A couple of people have asked what the smell is like in here – figuring it must smell pretty bad.

Surprisingly the smell is not bad at all. It smells a bit like a clean fish shop. You know there are fishy specimens about but it is a fresh smell.

The speicmens have all been properly frozen so they aren’t rotting – just defrosting. This is the reason that such care is being taken with the thaw process. The large colossal squid is SO big that it needs to be thawed in a cold environment – hence the cold tank -about 6 degrees Celcius. If the guys put it out in the sun then it would start to rot before the inside was thawed. Then it would smell pretty bad.

The giant is starting to give off some more ‘interesting fragrances’ – we do expect them to increase over the next day but it is not too bad.

We expect the giant squid will end up smelling more than the colossal squid because the colossal squid is nonammoniacal. The giant squid contains ammonia in all its tissues for buoyancy.

9 Responses

  1. Raymond Ho

    Thanks for the explanation.

    Are the ammonium cations present in the circulatory vessels? I guess NH4+ has a lower molecular weigh than Na+ on equal parts, therefore, provides the buoyancy in sea water.

  2. chrispaulin

    The ammonia is liquid – the ratio of ammonium ions to sodium ions varies – the higher the ammonium ions is, the greater bouancy: the giant squidl hangs in midwater with the mantle higher than the arms, so the ammonium ions are much higher concentration in the mantle.

  3. Raymond Ho

    Many thanks for sharing your interesting research work in progress. In the live webcam image, without any scientists in view, the colossal squid looks just like the regular ones from the fish-mongers. I have been fascinated by giant squids ever since watching the movie “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” when I was a boy. The monster depicted in the movie, from memory, has beaks larger than 40mm in LRL.

    Please explain how ammonia improves the buoyancy. Is the gas bound to the squid’s muscles/tissues, inside micro-nodules or contained within a chamber like the swim bladder in fish?

  4. Florence Liger

    We expect it to last around 2 hours.

  5. Henry

    i mean the smaller colossal squid and the disection of it

  6. tepapamuseum

    About the smaller specimen, do you mean the smaller colossal squid or the giant squid? And do you want to know how long the dissection is going to last, or how long it will stay at Te Papa?

  7. Heidi

    Hi, how thick is the skin of both sizes?

  8. Henry

    what is the amount of time you will have with the smaller specimin

  9. Aaron

    What do you mean by ‘interesting fragrances’?

    You should sample them with SPME etc and see what they are!


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