Imagine a squid so big that, when sprawled out, it is the size of a two-story house. Edith Widder has now seen this enormous ocean creature, once the stuff of nautical legend, six times.
Edith Widder: How we found the giant squidIn today’s talk, Widder shares how we now have filmed proof of the giant squid’s existence, thanks to a mission conducted by herself, Tsunemi Kubodera and Steve O’Shea and financed by the Japanese Broadcasting Corporation, NHK. While many previous missions failed to capture evidence of the giant squid, Widder and her fellow scientists used novel approaches — a camera platform that moves silently through the ocean, a bioluminescent electronic jellyfish to attract large sea creatures and a submersible able to take high definition footage from afar — to give us a glimpse of this mythical creature. In fact, they filmed it in action multiple times.
“How could something so big live in our ocean and remain unfilmed until now?” asks Widder on the TED2013 stage. “We’ve only explored about 5% of our ocean. There are great discoveries yet to be made down there — fantastic creatures representing millions of years of evolution and possibly bioactive compounds that could benefit us in ways we can’t even imagine. Yet, we’ve spent only a tiny fraction of the money on ocean exploration that we’ve spent on space exploration.“
To see the giant squid for yourself, and to watch footage of the crew as they caught their first glimpses of it, watch this talk — a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the Discovery Channel documentary, Monster Squid: The Giant Is Real. And here, more talks on incredible oceanic creatures:
- Mike deGruy: Hooked by an octopus
- Tierney Thys swims with the giant sunfish
- Edith Widder: The weird, wonderful world of bioluminscence
- David Gallo: Underwater astonishments
- Brian Skerry reveals ocean’s glory — and horror
- Jim Toomey: Learning from Sherman the shark
- Margaret Wertheim: the beautiful math of coral
- Edith Widder: Glowing life in an underwater world
- Asha de Vos: Why are blue whales so enormous?