Posted by: Craig Woolheater on April 27th, 2007
Newport, Oregon) – A new traveling exhibition, based on the popular permanent exhibition at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, will open at the Oregon Coast Aquarium on May 26. “In Search of Giant Squid,” which features a giant squid beak and suckers, will examine the myths and legends that surround giant squid and compare them with other squids and mollusks.
The exhibit, which will remain at the Aquarium through Labor Day Weekend, will explore their anatomy and what is known about how they hunt, move and defend themselves. Interactive components allow visitors to compare their own size to that of a giant squid.
The Giant Squid inhabits all of the world’s oceans, does battle with sperm whales, can be longer than a school bus, and can weigh over 1,000 pounds. Yet, giant squid have rarely been seen in their natural habitat. “In Search of Giant Squid” explores what is known about these mystifying animals and describes scientists’ ongoing efforts to observe them in their undersea environment.
Scientists have learned some things about the lives and likely habits of these intriguing deep-sea dwellers, such as the fact that giant squid have the world’s largest eyes and that their clear-blue blood is based on copper rather than iron. Much still needs to be learned, however, including how long these creatures live, how fast they swim, and how whales can find them when scientists cannot.
“The oceans are a mysterious wonderland filled with millions of species of marvelously adapted creatures, most of them known only to marine biologists,” says Clyde Roper, a zoologist and curator emeritus at the National Museum of Natural History. “Imagine, then, how exciting and mysterious it is to know about the existence of an animal so big that its tentacles would drag over the end of a flat-bed trailer truck!”
The giant squid has been the stuff of legends for more than 2,000 years, inspiring the imagination of authors like Jules Verne, who used early reports of giant squid encounters to create the colossal, tentacled monster that attacked Captain Nemo’s submarine in the classic novel “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.” The first complete specimen of a dead giant squid was displayed in 1874 by Rev. Moses Harvey of Newfoundland. Its recovery led to the earliest accurate description of the giant squid in 1880. However, despite all that has been learned in the last 125 years about these elusive giants, they continue to mystify and to evoke the curiosity of both the scientific community and the public.
“In Search of the Giant Squid” has been developed by the National Museum of Natural History and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) in partnership with the Discovery Channel, and is made possible by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 2820 SE Ferry Slip Rd, Newport. 541-867-3474. www.aquarium.orgOregon Coast Beach Connection
Co-founder of Cryptomundo in 2005. I have appeared in or contributed to the following TV programs, documentaries and films: OLN's Mysterious Encounters: "Caddo Critter", Southern Fried Bigfoot, Travel Channel's Weird Travels: "Bigfoot", History Channel's MonsterQuest: "Swamp Stalker", The Wild Man of the Navidad Destination America's Monsters and Mysteries in America: Texas Terror - Lake Worth Monster.