The giant squid hates everything: It hates Kirk Douglas, it hates the crew of the Pequod, and it especially hates scientists who make it look stupid.The warning was originally sounded in 2005, just after Japanese scientists made the first-ever observations of a live giant squid in the wild.
With the aid of a very long string and a bag of mashed shrimp, Tsunemi Kubodera and Kyoichi Mori have taken 500 pictures of the giant squid at home. Stripping all the mystery and dignity from this great beast, they got the not-very-coordinated, 26-foot-long monster to snag itself on their bait bag. No one said the giant squid was very bright, but the fact that it tried to free its tentacle for more than four hours before giving up and tearing the thing off doesn't do much for its reputation. Even the researchers' statement that the giant squid seems "much more active … than previously suspected" comes across as a little condescending.Hee.
Okay, now that I have stopped giggling, may I point out that the squid did not, in fact, "snag itself on their bait bag"? Kubodera's fishing setup was complex, including two entire bait squid in addition to the bag of mashed shrimp. From his paper:
Below the camera, bait rigs were suspended from a 3m nylon monofilament line, weighted down by a 23cm lead squid jig with a triple hook crown. Two 0.5m side branches were attached; the first bore a single large hook with a fresh Japanese Common Squid (Todarodes pacificus) of 22–25cm mantle length (ML). The second branch bore a mesh bag filled with freshly mashed euphausid shrimps as an odour lure. A second bait squidThe giant squid may have been attracted by the smell of the shrimp, but it actually attacked the bait squid on the weighted jig. Squid jigs, if you've never seen them, are pretty gnarly, and this is what caught the giant squid's tentacle.
was attached directly to the weighted squid jig.
I just wanted to set the record straight--because, of course, everything else in the Slate article was so stunningly accurate.