Colossal squid defrost

We are trying to defrost the specimen – it’s proving to be a colossal headache as the central core is still a solid block of ice. (Not enough experience with cooking those Christmas turkeys among the scientists!). We are expecting some media cameras to arrive shortly, so for those of you watching online (all 2,000+) the room may get crowded for a while.

We’ve added in a close up on SquidCam of Mark and the guys unfurling the tentacles. They’re using bubble wrap and floating bags to stop the tentacles from breaking off as the partially thawed tissue is quite fragile.

Once the specimen is fully thawed we will be able to preserve it using formalin. This is a chemical process which will cause the molecular structure to form cross-bonds and toughen the tissue up, just as squid goes tough when cooked – except we will use formalin instead of heat.

12 Responses

  1. Christine

    Was the squid dead????? Making sure you did not need to harm it for science?

  2. Sharon

    Any guestimates about when it will be thawed enough to begin the preservation process?

  3. Eva

    Goodness could you imagine that one Mark? It waking up suddenly and going nuts? Ha! Glad to hear your werent freezing in there with it! The hookos are amazing on this thing.. Everything about it has been facinating to say the least!

  4. Barbara

    I found your site a day ago and I am fascinted. I’ve called my nephews, one of whom is a biology teacher. Amazing stuff — I’m in Dayton OH. Thanks for all the camera angles. I’m not getting much sound though.

  5. Bart & Zac

    Happy Birthday Dad..:-))

    Love Bart & Zac

  6. Mark from Te Papa

    Hi folks,

    well I am thawing out (ha ha) nicely over lunch. I don’t know how broad my shoulders are exactly but my colleague Olaf tells me about 50 cm, hope that helps.

    I was holding a hose that was pumping warm water into the squid so no worries about the cold, and the hooks and suckers just don’t seem to catch us or scratch even though they would make short work of me if the squid woke up!

    By the way thanks for all the Birthday wishes! What a way to spend the day.

  7. chrispaulin

    Mark says it’s like being in a birthing tank, but we suspect he’s really practicing for the winter wading at Taupo for the trout fishing next week!

  8. chrispaulin

    Yes Mark said he’s not too bad.

  9. Eva

    I am curious isnt Mark COLD?! It must be cold in there and here they are asking him all these questions! How exciting this all must be for everyone there.. Again you are all doing such a great job!!

  10. Gemma

    have been watching from uk for past few days and it is brilliant although time difference means i can only see the start of the day. pics keep cutting out now as number of people increase. perhapes you can post the url for the recordings of the previous day so that i can catch up on what i miss. Happy B’day Mark

  11. Emma

    Slightly personal question if I may…I think it’s Mark in the tank with the squid, for the sake of scale, and being able to picture the size of the squid…Mark, how broad are your shoulders? thanks in advance, great webcast, well done all!

  12. Donna

    as I watch the handling of the tentacles as the squid is thawed, I’m wondering how you are preventing yourself from being scratched with the “teeth” on the suction cups…


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