Science Geeky Things--Giant Squid

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Cephalopods are the coolest. This critter really could be the Kraken of Legend and that's cooler yet. And the photo is purely creepy. I love it. I also love the sheer mystery of it--that this creature has been known mostly from washed up carcasses and remains and here it is on film. Not clearly, but on film nevertheless. Long live the giant squid!

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This reminded me of something else. I was recently amazed by a National Geographic (?) special about a tiny variety of jellyfish with a sting so potent it kills people. It's found off the coast of Austraila and they post "No Swimming" signs when conditions are ripe for the appearance of this tiny jelly - even large nets won't keep them out because they are too porous for this creature. It's odd that such a tiny animal should require such a disproportionately deadly sting.

Dear TSO,

Yes the "box jelly" or cubo-medusan is quite deadly. Even when not deadly it's sting leads to a fairly prominent permanent scare. (In case you can't tell, my specialty in studies was invertebrates. I'm utterly fascinated by them and their amazing adaptations and structures.) And you raise a very good point about a sting disproportionate to size--one does wonder about it. On the other hand, perhaps a very small prey item needs a very potent disausive mechanism. I don't imagine any sea turtle once coming into contact with a box jelly would consider another appropriate for dinner.



True but there are thousands of organisms who get eaten by their equivalent of box turtles and thrive - without packing so incredible a wallop.

Dear TSO,

Precisely. The natural world is infinitely more interesting that a surface glance might convey. And it reveals to those disposed to see the fine hand of God in every created thing. However, I wouldn't try to argue that point scientifically, because it represents merely the agenda I bring to the enterprise. Nevertheless, I ardently believe it to be true, and I love discussions like this because even if the solution were found, it would undoubtedly lead to deeper mysteries. Of mysteries there is no end in Nature.





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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on May 24, 2006 2:20 PM.

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