Water And Oceanography

Documentary Showing Giant Squid up Close will Air January 2013

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"Documentary Showing Giant Squid up Close will Air January 2013"
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In what is being described as a remarkable video capture, a team of scientists have filmed a giant squid in action far beneath the ocean's depths. Reportedly, this collaborative expedition, which included 100 dives, was attempted for years before it could finally reach fruition.

This project was a joint effort by Japanese public broadcaster NHK, Discovery Channel and Japan’s National Museum of Nature and Science.

According to NBC News, the desired video was finally captured last summer by Japanese zoologist Tsunemi Kubodera and his team, which included a camera operator and pilot for the submersible vehicle.

Kubodera is from Japan's National Museum of Nature and Science. The squid was detected over 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) from Toyko in July 2012.

In order to catch the remarkable filming, Kubodera said hi-tech lighting and the vehicle's silence abilities helped make the expedition a success. That, along with an enticing piece of bait, a smaller sized squid.

"A giant squid would never appear before a pool of light, that possibility is extremely slim", Kubodera told NBC News. "That's why we had to use lights that they wouldn't be able to detect. In fact, they're lights even humans wouldn't be able to see either."

The squid won't come anywhere near if it senses any type of presence from what was described in media reports. The team was finally able to get the close encounter over 2,000 feet beneath the surface and then had to follow the giant squid as it swam even deeper. Media reports say the group went almost 3,000 feet (900 meters) down in total.

“If you try to approach making a lot of noise, using bright lights, then the squid won't come anywhere near you," Kubodera said. “So we sat there in the pitch black, using a near-infrared light invisible even to the human eye, waiting for the giant to approach.''

According to the Associated Press (courtesy of the Washington Post), the squid was nine feet long (three meters). It was missing its two longest tentacles and experts are not quite sure why.

This video is also a significant milestone as scientists do not know much about these types of giant squids because they are not routinely seen, and rarely in their natural environment.   

"All of us were so amazed at what it looked like," Edie Widder, a marine biologist who was part of the successful video making mission, told the Los Angeles Times.  "It looked carved out of metal. And it would change from being silver to gold. It was just breathtaking."

The footage, for now, is being kept under wraps. "Legends of the Deep: Giant Squid" will be aired on January 13 in Japan on NHK and then again outside Japan on the Discovery Channel on Jan. 27.

More about this author: Leigh Goessl

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