A very careful process

As the scientists were attempting to move the colossal squid, it became apparent how gelatinous the tissue is. We want to keep the squid as intact as possible for display, so they are reassessing how to turn it successfully.

Currently there are 6 people assisting – but it has been decided to leave the specimen upside down and fix it in place before trying to turn it over.

The measurements indicate that the mantle length is comparable to that of the 2003 specimen, also held at Te Papa, but this specimen is 195 kg heavier! The two long tentacles that the fishermen observed have shortened and shrunken considerably post mortem, giving a final total length of 4.2 metres.

It is apparent from the examination of these two specimens over the last few days that these are incredibly plastic animals, and dimensions obviously change considerably!

The beak, however, is made of hard chitonous material and not subject to shrinkage: the lower rostral beak length of the 495 kg specimen is 42.5 mm – beaks up to 49 mm have been found in sperm whale stomachs, therefore these animals must attain much much bigger sizes than this!

That’s life on squid row!

15 Responses

  1. tepapamuseum

    Hey thanks – I must admit it was pretty exciting to be there! We haven’t seen the DC doco in NZ yet – will keep you posted on a screening time.

  2. *SOMEONE*

    I saw this on Discovery Channel. It was so exciting to watch !!!

  3. chrispaulin

    Hi Christine
    The mantle length of this (495 kg) specimen was 2.5 m, while the 2003 specimen (300 kg) was slightly shorter in mantle length (2.3 m), but longer overall at 5.3 m (vs. 4.2 m).

  4. Christine Hieber

    Hi, does anybody know the mantle lengths of this and the 2003 specimen?

  5. Jake

    How big do they get to be?

  6. Andrea (UK)

    Hey, just found the link to this site. Totally gutted that I missed the thawing process videos, etc. But am enjoyig reading the comments.

  7. Debs

    Hey I’ve got a good idea….why don’t you try freezing it…oh…..

  8. Sharon

    Updates? Please?

  9. Sharon

    More people might reduce the physical stress on the animal in the rotation process.

  10. Yasmin

    wow this is soooo exciting!!! Thanks for all the different angles and views of the camera’s.
    Couldn’t you just pee from the excitement …

  11. Paul

    Do you know what sex it is yet?
    And how long it is?

  12. Mark (Monty) Montague

    On the off chance that this is helpful:

    I was thinking if you got a large piece of plywood or similar, you could lash the squid to the wood with the tarp, then flip it over while it was kept intact.

  13. chrispaulin

    we think this specimen is about 3 years old, however, as we are trying to keep it intact for display we will not be removing the statoliths, from which scientists can determine the age. we successfully removed the statoliths from the 161 kg specimen, so it can be aged later.

  14. Jane

    Does anyone know, how old this giant is??

  15. Sharon

    I’m stunned at how short it is!


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