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!