The hooks seem to grab everyone’s attention (pun intended). Other squid families have hooks on the arms, or the tentacles, or both, but the colossal squid is the only hooked squid in its family (the Cranchiidae, about 20 species). It possesses hooks on each of the eight arms, and alsoRead more

You may have seen us removing and examining the beaks of the giant and smaller colossal squids yesterday, so we thought we’d give some background on cephalopod beaks and why they’re important. The beaks (one upper and one lower in all squid, octopus and their relatives) are the first stageRead more

The colossal squid – first described in the early 20th century – is known from about 11 specimens, of which only three or four are intact: most are fragments of arms or branchial crowns recovered from sperm whale stomachs. Te Papa, the Museum of New Zealand, has one complete subadultRead more

The large colossal squid is thawing . . . meanwhile, we are currently setting up for the dissection this afternoon. The scientists will be dissecting the smaller, damaged colossal squid. The dissection table has had to be changed because the colossal squid is a lot wider than the giant squid weRead more

Mark Fenwick and Kat Bolstad are in the tank carefully cutting the landing net away from the thawing squid. Fortunately the squid is still partially frozen and is floating, which makes the task much easier. The beak of the colossal squid has been exposed as the flesh thaws. Preliminary measurementRead more

While the large colossal squid thaws the scientists are continuing their examination of the other ‘smaller’ colossal and the giant squid.  Dr Kubodera with the beak of the giant squid: By measuring beak size of these specimens, we can calculate the size of other specimens of beaks found in theRead more

The colossal squid specimen has been slowly thawing overnight. Shortly we will assess how far it has progressed and add another tonne of ice, as the temperature of the water has been creeping up and is above 8 degrees centigrade. We had hoped for a good Wellington southerly with airRead more

Preparations for the colossal squid thaw are well underway, with construction of a temporary tank with a capacity to hold 10,000 litres of preservative. The tank is being built by Te Papa’s building services team and is 6.5 m long by 2 m wide. The logistics for moving the frozenRead more

Not all war memorials are monumental or made from marble. While I was reading Ann Beaglehole’s Eastbourne: A History of the Eastern Bays of Wellington Harbour, I discovered details of trees planted by the community to remember World War One (WWI) and those who lost their lives. In July 1916Read more

One of the topics we’ll be exploring in the upcoming 20th Century History exhibition will be the impact of First World War deaths on New Zealand society. More than 18,000 New Zealand soldiers died overseas during the war, but very few of their bodies came back, so the way inRead more