Tetrapod Zoology

The ING giant squid special

Once again I’m going to do the advertising thing for those fantastic Inside Nature’s Giants people. Sorry that notice is so short, but I only received the relevant information today (Wednesday 13th October). Tomorrow sees the premiere screening (here in the UK, on Channel 4) of a 75 minute ING special on the giant squid.


And, yes, once again I’m breaking the ‘tetrapods only’ rule… for ING, however, I can make an exception. More info below the fold.


Thanks to Tom Mustill and others at Windfall Films. If you’re on facebook be sure to ‘like’ Joy’s page.

For previous Tet Zoo articles on ING, see…


  1. #1 Rosel
    October 13, 2010

    *flail* can’t wait!
    This series has made Joy one of my heroes.

  2. #2 SamW
    October 13, 2010

    Cool. 🙂 I wasn’t aware that this was on tomorrow, glad I’ll be able to watch it, thanks for letting us know.

  3. #3 Jerzy
    October 13, 2010

    So, does giant squid make a good sushi? 😉

  4. #4 John H
    October 13, 2010

    I think we can consider cephalopods as sufficently cool to be honorary tetrapods.

  5. #5 Dave Godfrey
    October 13, 2010

    No John. Some tetrapods are sufficiently cool to be considered honorary cephalopods.

  6. #6 Mike Lisieski
    October 13, 2010

    Not to be a spoil-sport, but it’s a bit of a let-down that they point out anatomy that *every coleoid cephalopod* has. The fact that a giant squid has a normal oesophagus, three hearts, and a typical buccal mass isn’t at all remarkable. It would be like dissecting a dog and saying “Guess what we found! A heart, a stomach, and TWO LUNGS!”

    That said, it looks like a very cool film.

  7. #7 Allen Hazen
    October 13, 2010

    Jerzy (re #3)–
    I don’t think so. I forget the details, but I recall seeing a few years back (about when the Melbourne, Australia, aquarium was displaying a dead giant squid in a refrigerated case in the early 2000s) that the giant squid is one of those squid species that accumulates large quantities of … one of the details I forget is exactly what the chemical is: maybe ammonia? … which render it highly unpalatable. (To humans, that is. There is a well-known mammal species, closely related to some featured in the past on TetZoo, which thinks Architeuthis sushi is just yummy.)

  8. #8 SimonG
    October 13, 2010

    I’ve been excited about this show all week. I’ll be sure to turn my ‘phone off tomorrow night.

  9. #9 Sven DiMilo
    October 13, 2010

    Yeah, the “tooth-covered tongue” applies to all mollusks (excepting bivalves, which have lost the radula), and the bit about the brain encircling the esophagus is pretty much true for any protostome smart enough to have one.

  10. #10 Darren Naish
    October 13, 2010

    Sure, we all know that three hearts, beaks, radulae etc. aren’t unique features of Architeuthis. But play fair: this is a documentary that’s exposing a mostly ‘naive’ audience to a huge amount of information that they have no prior knowledge of. It reminds me of a recent reaction to a news story about a new monitor lizard: some readers were saying “What??? A lizard with two penises? Why haven’t the scientists made more of this remarkable discovery?”.

  11. #11 Jerzy
    October 13, 2010

    Right, I remembered about ammonia…

    I hope Sir David A. and BBC crew make a film about live Architethuis instead of yet more meerkats…

  12. #12 Tim Morris
    October 14, 2010

    Correction, you can make giant squid sushi.

    When the melbourne museum dissected its giant squid, they saved a small portion for the resident japanese sushi expert to try. The chemical that they accumulate is ammonia, and apparently it makes it taste like dutch licorice, that is, salty and bitter. I imagine that when it is eaten, it is an aquired taste.

  13. #13 Valagos
    October 14, 2010

    Too bad it will be a while before this show reaches my side of the pond. Can’t wait for it. The feature I’m most fascinated about in squids are actually their enormous eyes and giant nerves. I really hope they brush on that in the show. Also would love to know if giant squid skins are capable of changing colors or emit bioluminiscence like several gregarious squid species do. Are giant squid gregarious or solitary? Hmm, probably the wrong forum to ask…

  14. #14 Joey 14
    October 14, 2010

    Cant wait. should be great.

    Valagos|Giant squid can change colour but im not sure about bioluminesence. like you said, plenty of smaller squid can emit light but the giant squid probably wouldnt need it because of its large eyes.

    By the way. has anyone filmed a live one yet cause i cant find any info about it. thanks.

    Joey 14 (Yes. Im fourteen)

  15. #15 Joseph
    October 14, 2010

    Just finished watching it. It was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen on the tv. Loads of incredible footage outside of the dissection on other species was reaaal nice.

  16. #16 Dave Godfrey
    October 14, 2010

    Yes Joey, Giant Squid have been filmed, both at the surface, as well as at their usual depth. This BBC article has video.

  17. #17 Robert
    October 15, 2010

    This programme was amazing.

    A pity that they only showed (without describing or even mentioning) the Vampire Squid.

    And as for Squid Sex… Ouch.

    Pray you’re never reincarnated as a Lady Squid!

  18. #18 MIke Simpson
    October 15, 2010

    That was superb television from start to finish.

    What was that octopus with a vestigial shell that they looked at briefly, which they said was only the second specimen ever found?

  19. #19 Darren Naish
    October 15, 2010

    It was a kind of cirrate octopod, but I don’t recall the binomial.

  20. #20 Dave Godfrey
    October 15, 2010

    It was referred to as “the second specimen of Cirroteuthis magna“. Which O’Shea moved to Cirrothauma in 1999. And according to Tolweb there are several specimens known, but only one other from New Zealand. I wonder if there’s been some more taxonomic shuffling since it was last updated?

  21. #21 Kaitlyn Spencer
    October 15, 2010

    When was the Giant Squid found? And where do most of them live now? Or are the all scattered across the oceans? And what do they eat?

  22. #22 Tom Filby
    November 23, 2010

    “Veterinary Scientist Mark Evans is our friendly faced guide through what is essentially an autopsy interspersed with informative but fairly tenuous side-features about near genetic relatives, and look! There’s Richard Dawkins not going ballistic at some slack-jawed religious maniac.”

    Read my full review at http://ewfbtw.blogspot.com/2010/10/television-inside-natures-giants-giant.html

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