Pharyngula

Weird creatures lurk in the depths

How odd — lots of people are sending me links to this video of a spindly-armed squid drifting through an oil-drilling site, but I’m pretty sure I posted this same video last year. I guess National Geographic just acquired rights to the footage.

It’s still a spectacular animal. And if that’s not enough, here’s a whole page of short clips of these Magnapinna squid in action.

Comments

  1. #1 sleepyinsaudi
    November 25, 2008

    That’s the wierdest thing ever I’ve seen. And believe me, I have seen some very wierd things.

  2. #2 Kristin C
    November 25, 2008

    I’ve seen the clip before, and I do NOT get tired of it. That is a weird-ass creature.

  3. #3 Ompompanoosuc
    November 25, 2008

    Either the camera operator has no motor skills or the control system for the camera is terrible. There is this thing called proportional control where a small user input results in a slow pan of the camera. Shell probably doesn’t have the money for such things….

    As for the creature, wow. Looks like the alien from Independence Day if you made it that far in the movie.

  4. #4 Chris Davis
    November 25, 2008

    @Ompompanoosuc – if one a’ those turned up anywhere near where I was working, I guarantee that my motor coordination would suffer severely.

    But – damn – what a beauty! Of such things was ‘The Abyss’ made.

  5. #5 True Bob
    November 25, 2008

    It does not look calamari-worthy to me. A squid with elbows?

  6. #6 Carpworld
    November 25, 2008

    These guys are awesome. Here’s some more videos and pics: http://archive.serpentproject.com/view/species/Magnapinna_sp..html

    SERPENT project is actually really worth having a dig through if you have a few minutes and like benthic weirdness.

  7. #7 defectiverobot
    November 25, 2008

    That clip just proves two things:

    1) We really need to spend more time and money cataloging and studying the ocean. I love NASA and space exploration and all, but really, what the hell is down there?

    2) I am so not the guy to spend time cataloging and studying the ocean. That thing would scare the crap out of me. Damn that Jaws! Scarred me for life…

  8. #8 Jules
    November 25, 2008

    Weird, it’s poised like a jellyfish in the water, with the long tentacles dangling below. Except the ‘elbows’ appear to hold the limbs out further from each other – almost to spread them out and keep them tangling – like the sticks that separate marionette puppet strings.

  9. #9 Carlie
    November 25, 2008

    It looks like an enormous virus. Eek!

  10. #10 True Bob
    November 25, 2008

    Well I, for one, welcome our Elbonian-Tentacular Overlords.

  11. #11 BeccaTheCyborg
    November 25, 2008

    I think it’s definitely beautiful. In an odd way.

  12. #12 Doug Little
    November 25, 2008

    Weird, it’s poised like a jellyfish in the water, with the long tentacles dangling below. Except the ‘elbows’ appear to hold the limbs out further from each other – almost to spread them out and keep them tangling – like the sticks that separate marionette puppet strings.

    Ain’t evolution a wonderful thing. It’s got built in outriggers.

  13. #13 Galbinus_Caeli
    November 25, 2008

    #8, that is just what I thought. I wonder if it feeds in a similar manner? Snag whatever touched the arms and pull it up to the mouth.

  14. #14 cosmichorror
    November 25, 2008

    All hail Cthulhu!

  15. #15 Chinchillazilla
    November 25, 2008

    Someone described it to me and I was like “Sweet!” And then I saw the video. It’s like a massive underwater spiderbeast and it’s horrible and I HATE IT.

    But I respect that it’s an awesome creature. I just hate it anyway.

  16. #16 Sili
    November 25, 2008

    Still a less shaky image than what I can produse.

  17. #17 Cliff Hendroval
    November 25, 2008

    Anyone have any idea of how big that thing is? Are the tentacles a foot long, or 10 feet? There’s nothing in the video to give it scale.

  18. #18 drdrab
    November 26, 2008

    To give you a sense of scale the large pipe sticking up from the sea floor is almost always 30 inch diameter. The drill pipe being pulled out is likely 5 1/2″ diameter.
    Of course the camera work is shaky, they are using a ROV at 7800ft in a current.

  19. #19 Arnosium Upinarum
    November 27, 2008

    These beings from the deep are endlessly fascinating…

    I noticed something interesting: in every case with the bent-arm drift posture the fin-work is always directed at thrusting upward, which implies that they are keeping a slight negative bouyancy (without the fin-work, they’d sink deeper) that would always allow them to maintain fine-depth control without having to reverse their thrust if they were neutrally bouyant: the constant tension allows them some measure of control in “hanging their lines”.

  20. #20 Arnosium Upinarum
    November 27, 2008

    #7: “I love NASA and space exploration and all, but really, what the hell is down there?”

    NASA? WTF??? Dammit, are we mixing apples and asparagus again? Suppose we keep our eye on the friggin’ science ball, shall we, and knock off easy-to-recognize insanity-spending (like, say, off the top of my head, that $3/4 trillion on a luxurious super-embassy in Baghdad equipped with everything from swimming pools to tennis courts, and no, it’s not officially or commonly added to the cost of that incredibly stupid war, but one of the major factors designed to keep us there). Then, with a fraction of all that, we can explore the Earth’s oceans AND other places NOT on the Earth like, for example, what may be lurking beneath the ice crust in a global subterranean ocean within Jupiter’s moon Europa that is estimated to be up to 100km deep.

    That’s a volume of water around TWICE that of the Earth’s oceans. Honest, now, wouldn’t you like to take a peek? Aren’t you the least bit curious what nature may have cooked up elsewhere, independently of what Earth has served up? Why should biologists be earth-life chauvinists? Why not just start being life-chauvinist? Chemically and environmentally, there’s nothing “down to earth” that ain’t “out there”. Copernicus started the nasty idea that has guided science ever since: the heavens do not revolve around us; we are NOT special, remember? It sure guided Darwin’s thinking.

    Be a stand-up Strong Darwinist: EXPECT life to have evolved elsewhere, as it has here. Why not? Why SHOULDN’T those same physical and chemical laws, provided with the same ingredients and conditions, set forth other fantastic biochemical journeys of evolutionary ramification? The very HEART of Darwin’s idea is that given separate trials from identical starting conditions, a completely different outcome will result every time. But we can’t even begin to test that idea unless we look elsewhere: the SINGLE outcome and its fragmentary fossil history which we ARE thus far fortunate enough to study is just the result of a SINGLE particular trial. That’s the main problem: evolutionary biologists can’t perform a study that examines what happens on each of a dozen or 100 earths. They have to conduct relatively extremely tiny examples of such trials. Thousands of them. So far, if I am not much mistaken, every single one of them is consistent with the general heart of the idea of evolution via natural selection.

    But just discovering ONE example of the most rudimentary life on any other world would send creationists into a teeth-gnashing frenzy. Looking at these vids encourages one to imagine what marvels of complexity may be lurking within the vast ocean of Europa…imagine discovering something extraordinary, complex, sophisticated: that would freeze creationists into a state of apoplexy.

    Mars, Europa (to a lesser extent, because of the relative inaccessibility to their possible subterranean oceans, Ganymede and even Callisto) Titan and even little wet-farting Enceladus are none of them precisely like the Earth, but they are crucially important to biology and an understanding of pre-biotic conditions.

    The money to PROPERLY explore ALL of nature – here on earth as well as off of it – has been in super-abundance throughout the space age, or there would be no such thing as wars and bridges to nowhere.

    If there’s anything that approaches the stupidity of innumerable like examples, it is scientists from different disciplines fighting over table scraps like starving dogs. It’s time to end that crap and assert the critical importance of basic scientific research in all fields, and finance it decently, period.

    Oh, and #15? With that “eeiyoo” response? That’s a form of bigot behavior, yes?

  21. #21 Steven Sullivan
    November 29, 2008

    The SERPENT site has a shot of one that was measured at 7 meters (fully extended)

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